Reflections about Work, Time and Subjectivity in the Contemporary Culture

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:00 AM
Room: Booth 43
Distributed Paper
The obsession for innovation, planned obsolescence and the consequent discardability have become conditions of the contemporary culture. A culture of consumption and the commodity form have impregnated our way of life, even people and their relationships. In this article, methodologically inserted in the dialogue between psychoanalysis and social theory, we will start from the premise that in this new version of capitalism, people can be considered as commodities in the labor market. And if we are commodities, in this endless shelf of products, we need to remain saleable because we are also disposable (or, to use common expression in business: we must invest, continuously, in our employability). It is precisely this point that interests us. The rules are unfair but clear: we must uninterruptedly upgrade to keep up with the frenetic speed of technological change. As well as the products, we have to innovate ourselves to keep our chances of employment. It is necessary to always deliver more in less time; we must permanently say yes to more tasks, donating our time of life to work. In fact, not only our speediness, performance and behavior have been constantly evaluated, but our personal values have been incorporated as a skill by the labor market. The contemporary discourse places our moral values at the same route of our technical or behavior skills. Our life has become a hurry to improve the commodity that we are and this include adapt our behavior, our moral values and also our beliefs according to the market demands. And all of this is necessary, but it is not enough. Besides not being sufficient there is no guarantee. Furthermore, in this condition of full mobilization, in this new capitalism of spirit, there is no separation between working time and lifetime.