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Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life

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Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life

Paul du Gay & Michael Pryke

Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446218440 | Print ISBN: 9780761959939 | Online ISBN: 9781446218440 | Publisher:SAGE Publications Ltd

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Chapter 4: Work Ethics, Soft Capitalism and the ‘Turn to Life’

Paul Heelas

Work ethics, soft capitalism and the ‘turn to life’ A good way of arguing against those who hold that the economic realm is (largely) autonomous and (relatively) impervious with regard to cultural influences is to draw attention to the role played by work ethics. Having made the point that work ethics are at once cultural and economic, attention is paid to distinguishing between four (ideal-type) work ethics. This paves the way for the main purpose of what then follows, namely that of explaining the development of what has become an important work ethic, the ‘self-work ethic’ of ‘soft’ capitalism, in particular in its ‘exploratory’ mode. And a key argument in this regard is that the development of soft/exploratory capitalism is largely due to the failure of other work ethics, in particular their inability adequately to handle the widespread cultural ‘turn to life’. Work ethics – of whatever variety – involve ...

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