351.6 The pop management culture and the construction of a market of corporative conducts in Brazil

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 12:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Monise PICANÇO , Sociology, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Since the 1990’s, Brazil has experienced a phenomenon that is known worldwide: entangled to the changes on the productive structure, a profusion of new notions concerning the characteristics of a perfect worker came about. An employee, and anyone who is trying to become one, has to be proactive, has to become an entrepreneur and be able to manage oneself – from problems with tasks of work life to the engineering of one’s career, one is obligated to seek a life of one’s own and take responsibility to the paths that their life takes.

This study tries to understand this process, but through a different perspective. It is assumed that, to do so, it is crucial to take knowledge of the construct of a market that is entwined to this process: a market where what is sold are performances, ways of conducting oneself through work and, as some producers of this market would say, through life. The idea is to apprehend how a practice, strongly subjective and vocational, becomes a product, sold through discourses highly normative and prescriptive such as self-help literature and pop management magazines.

Who are the actors involved in this market? What legitimates their actions and the construction of such products? These are the questions that this essay tries to answer. To do so, we will employ the concept of field, key in Bourdieu’s work and developed by authors such as Lahire, and apprehend this market as a field of force and power relations, entwined to the changes on the labor market and the management and business studies, where actors struggle to legitimate discourses, recipes of ways to “make friends and influence people”, “be a servant leader”, and become “an highly effective worker” on the corporative world.