Fight for your alienation: The fantasy of employability and the ironic struggle for self-exploitation

Bloom, Peter (2013). Fight for your alienation: The fantasy of employability and the ironic struggle for self-exploitation. Ephemera: theory & politics in organizations, 13(4) 785 -807.

URL: http://www.ephemerajournal.org/contribution/fight-...

Abstract

This paper draws on Lacanian psychoanalysis, to introduce employability as a cultural fantasy that organizes identity around the desire to shape, exploit and ultimately profit from an employable self. Specifically, the paper shows how individuals seek to overcome their subjective and material alienation by maximizing their self-exploitation through constantly enhancing their employability. This linking of empowerment to selfexploitation has expanded into a broader organizational and political demand calling on individuals to fight for their alienation by having managers and governments help them better exploit themselves through enhancing their employability. Paradoxically, the more contemporary subjects aim to overcome their subjective and material alienation through fantasies of employability the more alienated they become.

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