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Franz Schultheis - Labour in Crisis

Date: 24 June 2009 Time: 6.30pm

Venue: 6.30pm, Meeting Rooms 2 & 3 of the IAS Building

Institute for Advanced Studies Lecture Series

6.30pm, Meeting Rooms 2 & 3 of the IAS Building.

All Welcome!


Franz Schultheis - University of St Gallen

Labourin Crisis.

We are living today in a time of massive and rapid economic, social and cultural upheaval. There is widespread agreement on this point among all the experts in the social, economic and human sciences. And they also agree that this radical change began to happen around 1980. In this context the research speaks of an increasing spread and normalisation of forms of employment hitherto regarded as "atypical" (labour leasing, short-term contracts etc.) and an increasing precarisation of the employee status. It is not simply a case of measures rendered inevitable by a crisis and collateral damage but is rather the result of a radicalisation of capitalist market competition and an increasing re-commodification of labour (Polanyi), which is analysed and interpreted by Boltanski and Chiapello as a "new spirit of capitalism". An empirical study of the personnel policy of a Swiss big bank follows this trace. The research question was:

What happens to a traditional Swiss enterprise with an excellent balance sheet and pride in the fact that it has never dismissed an employee when it allows itself to be modernised under the auspices of the McKinsey consultants? The history of this Swiss big bank appears to be an exemplification of the background to the most recent financial crisis and its causes, which are to be found in a radicalisation and deregulation of the capitalist spirit, seen in this case however from the subjective point of view and experience of the employees concerned.

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Who can attend: Anyone


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Organising departments and research centres: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Institute for Advanced Studies


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
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