Dead Man Working
An analysis of the dead man working and the way in which capital is now colonizing life itself.
Capitalism has become strange. Ironically, while the ‘age of work’ seems to have come to an end, working has assumed a total presence – a ‘worker’s society’ in the worst sense of the term – where everyone finds themselves obsessed with it. So what does the worker tell us today? "I feel drained, empty… dead." This book tells the story of the dead man working. It follows this figure through the daily tedium of the office, to the humiliating mandatory team building exercise, to awkward encounters with the funky boss who pretends to hate capitalism and tells you to be authentic. In this society, the experience of work is not of dying...but neither of living. It is one of a living death. And yet, the dead man working is nevertheless compelled to wear the exterior signs of life, to throw a pretty smile, feign enthusiasm and make a half-baked joke. When the corporation has colonized life itself, even our dreams, the question of escape becomes ever more pressing, ever more desperate.
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A bracing thesis to consider on your tightly regulated lunchbreak..... Gathering examples from Žižek to Woody Allen or film adaptations of Stephen King, the book is mordantly entertaining. ~ Stephen Poole, The Guardian
Cederström and Fleming, like a present day Virgil, bravely venture into an underworld full of shades whose entire lives have been put to work, who throw themselves heart and soul into the job, and who are constantly implored by management gurus to “be themselves,” “feel free,” and “have fun” in the office. This fascinating and dark little book is an excellent and disturbing introduction to what increasingly large realms of the world of work have become.~ Michael Hardt, Co-author of Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth.
What has work done to us? Cederström and Fleming’s brilliant dark and witty book tells us the truth. Working in our sleep? Dressing up as infants? Deprivation tank addiction? Fitness centrers? Suicide? Email? If you didn’t already know what work has made you become then this book might have a devastating effect on your life. Read it!~ Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor, New School for Social Research