For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Toward a Civilization of Work"

by Touraine, Alain (1999)


t: The debate on "the end of work," which has developed during recent years and which has produced a series of excellent books and papers, is not entirely scientific because it deals, to a large extent, with our representation of the future. The diminishing size of the work week, maybe the impossibility of full employment, the individualization of life projects as much as protracted education years and longer post-retirement period are indicators of a basic cultural and social change; nevertheless, none of them is by itself sufficient to characterize it. What they suggest is that a societal type is born, in which work occupies a smaller and smaller part of individual life as a consequence of a rapidly growing labour productivity and in which central values are no longer defined by participation to collective goals but by self-realization or even by consumption in all its forms. Some people go as far as considering our work-oriented civilization as a short intermediary period between societies, in which the main task was to work out their own reproduction, and future societies, in which mass consumption and shows play a central role and are considered as central values by people who consider their "job" only as a way of getting money to buy leisure-time acti


Post-Work, Sustainability, Workaholics, Overwork, Information Economy, Unemployment, Working-Class Consciousness



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