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The restructuring of work and production in the international political economy

. Neo-liberal discourses of hyperflexibility advocate the individualisation of the firm and the devolution of responsibility and autonomy to the level of immediate managerial production decisions. Indeed, it could be said that such discourses rely upon the abstraction of the firm from its wider relationship with state-society. The restructuring activities and debates within German and British manufacturing firms reflect and inform a web of power that extends seamlessly into banks, education institutions and civil society. The webs of power that pull together the

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
Unheard voices and invisible agency

reorganisation of work. The first is a direct participatory role in defining the terms of new forms of work and work organisation, and in reinforcing the global image of flexibility and mobility. These ‘portfolio people’ (Handy, 1995) represent a managerial elite, to include business analysts, policy advisors, consultants and auditors and marketing and advertising agents. The intensified ‘risks’ taken by these groups, such as their eschewal of company pension packages and job security, are matched by the potential rewards – working autonomy and high renumeration. As Coyle

in Globalisation contested

‘yeoman democracy’ of informal networks of trust (Piore, 1990; Sabel, 1992). The emergence of the ‘network society’ (Castells, 1996) has been heralded by some as the harbinger of individual autonomy and freedom in the workplace (Negroponte, 1995). In these representations, political thought, action, conflict and contestation are institutionalised phenomena; they are contained by ideological positions, party politics and formalised industrial relations. As a result, it is held that once the embedded norms of the perceived past era have been totally displaced by ‘new’ and

in Globalisation contested