Individualisation at Work: The Self between Freedom and Social Pathologies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Individualisation at Work

The Self between Freedom and Social Pathologies, 1st Edition

By Norbert Ebert


196 pages

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Individualisation has become an ambiguous, but defining feature of late modern societies and while it is in part characterised by an increase in individual autonomy and a sense of liberation, individuals are equally required to negotiate a fragmented, pluralised and ambiguous social order by themselves. This book sheds light on the processes and nature of contemporary individualisation, specifically exploring the manner in which it unfolds under conditions of contemporary network capitalism. With attention to the modern workplace, where the individual and the organisation meet directly, but also in the wider community, Individualisation at Work reveals individualisation to become an ideological and ambiguous process of liberation, as conditions of marketisation and corporatisation transform the emancipatory qualities and motivations that define individualisation into a means for the coordination and reproduction of systemic imperatives, which are realised by individuals' qualities and capacities for self-realisation. A rigorous theoretical study, illustrated with interview material gathered amongst managers from internationally operating corporations, this book will appeal to sociologists with interests in work and organisations and the theory of contemporary modernity.


'In an age when birth and place could largely fix one for life, individualisation was a radical emancipation enabling one to be other than where one was from. In late modernity we have all become individuals. Individualisation is now an ideology and a productive force reproducing a largely deregulated economic system institutionally, organisationally and normatively. This book, in a classic tradition of sociological theorising, explores and critiques the complex contours of contemporary individualisation in a theoretically sophisticated, yet accessible, and empirically informed manner.' Stewart Clegg, University of Technology Business School, Sydney, Australia 'The author's ability to bridge the gap between the big picture of contemporary capitalism and the emergence of individualisation is impressive. I suspect C Wright Mills would have been pleased with this example of the "Sociological Imagination" at work." Stuart Rees, University of Sydney, Australia 'This is a rich and thoughtful contribution to the debate on the contemporary state and role of individualisation. It is original and significant, transparently structured, coherently argued and well presented.' Irmingard Staeuble, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

About the Author

Norbert Ebert is Lecturer in Sociology at Macquarie University, Australia.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General