Thursday, March 31, 2011

[IWS] ILR Press: A COMPANY OF ONE: Insecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment [April 2011]

IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau


ILR Press (an imprint of Cornell University Press)


A COMPANY OF ONE: Insecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment

by Carrie M. Lane


      $19.95s paper

Available in APRIL, 216 pages, 6 x 9, 5 halftones

ISBN: 978-0-8014-7727-0 


      $59.95x cloth

Available in APRIL, 216 pages, 6 x 9, 5 halftones

ISBN: 978-0-8014-4964-2 


Being laid off can be a traumatic event. The unemployed worry about how they will pay their bills and find a new job. In the American economy's boom-and-bust business cycle since the 1980s, repeated layoffs have become part of working life. In A Company of One, Carrie M. Lane finds that the new culture of corporate employment, changes to the job search process, and dual-income marriage have reshaped how today's skilled workers view unemployment. Through interviews with seventy-five unemployed and underemployed high-tech white-collar workers in the Dallas area over the course of the 2000s, Lane shows that they have embraced a new definition of employment in which all jobs are temporary and all workers are, or should be, independent "companies of one."


Following the experiences of individual jobseekers over time, Lane explores the central role that organized networking events, working spouses, and neoliberal ideology play in forging and reinforcing a new individualist, pro-market response to the increasingly insecure nature of contemporary employment. She also explores how this new perspective is transforming traditional ideas about masculinity and the role of men as breadwinners. Sympathetic to the benefits that this "company of one" ideology can hold for its adherents, Lane also details how it hides the true costs of an insecure workforce and makes collective and political responses to job loss and downward mobility unlikely.




"A Company of One is terrific. It is refreshingly direct, carefully researched, well written and organized, framed in a novel and useful fashion, and, of serendipitous if grim circumstance, appears at an opportune time. Carrie M. Lane provides a marvelous summary of critical shifts in career structures and accompanying ideologies, both justifying and supporting increasingly insecure and episodic career paths, told in the voices of job-seeking high-tech workers."—John Van Maanen, Erwin H. Schell Professor of Organization Studies, MIT


"In this rich and sobering book, Carrie M. Lane offers a window into the lived complexities of neoliberalism. Here global high-tech restructuring is unearthed among American white collar middle classes, for whom anxiety, insecurity, and rugged individualism are resounding and sometimes perplexing bedfellows. A Company of One is a powerful and prescient ethnography with a subtle reading of gender, class, politics, and the meanings of work and selfhood in times of economic flux."—Carla Freeman, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies, Emory University


About the Author

Carrie M. Lane is Assistant Professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton.



This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       



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