Kognitiver Kapitalismus: Wider eine fragwuerdige Diagnose

Translated title of the contribution: Cognitive capitalism: a misleading diagnosis

Paul Thompson, Kendra Briken

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Sociologists of work necessarily recognise the intimate connections between transformations of capitalism and trends in the labour process and employment relations. Such connections are a central inheritance from the classical sociology of Durkheim, Marx and Weber. Though the rise of postmodernism, with its emphasis on culture, language and identity has loosened such ties, the inter-relations remain in contemporary social theory from Castells to Beck and back. In this short article the theme is capitalism at work. The argument is that contemporary social theory has generally put forward deeply flawed conceptions of the pathways between capitalist political economy and work/employment relations. The article begins with a brief commentary on some of Ithe general characteristics of social theory concerning the workings of capitalism, before a more detailed exposition and critique of an increasingly influential variant – cognitive capitalism. Drawing on our own and other labour process research, within that critique, we offer some observations towards a more realistic picture of capitalism at work, including the importance of financialization of the economy.
Translated title of the contributionCognitive capitalism: a misleading diagnosis
Original languageGerman
Article number3
Pages (from-to)57-85
Number of pages27
JournalWestEnd. Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016


  • cognitive capitalism
  • financialisation
  • HRM
  • human resource management


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