Book: The Emancipated Worker? A Foucauldian Study of Power, Subjectivity and Organising in the Information Age

Emancipated workerThe Emancipated Worker? A Foucauldian Study of Power, Subjectivity and Organising in the Information Age. Hannele M. J. Huhtala (nyk. Seeck), Helsinki: Commentationes Scientiarum Socialium, The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters 2004.

This book is about organizational control in the information age. It examines both traditional forms of control and newer developments in the field. Internal and external control mechanisms, as played out in the contemporary context, are also explored. Overall, organizational control is examined through the changing landscape of power, subject and organization.

Essentially this book explores whether contemporary workers are isolated, alienated and repressed human ruins – as popular discourse and beliefs would have it – or people working in the pioneering conditions of the information age in fact quite like their working realities and actively participate in their reconstruction and reproduction. What if, in fact, in the avant-garde professional work organizations of the information age, working subjects already largely experience themselves as emancipated? Even if this seems to be the case, however, might there be more subtle mechanisms of control at play?

The book culminates theoretically with an understanding of organizational control in terms of the new modern forms of power and an explanation of the relationships among subjectivity, agency, power and organizational control. The empirical study was the first to be carried out in the avant-garde professional work organizations of a pioneer industry in the world’s leading information society, Finland.

Edited PhD thesis that has been used, for example, in the methods course at the University of Helsinki as an example of how to conduct qualitative analysis.

Long articles written about the book The Emancipated Worker? (Huhtala, 2004):

  • Self-management is making its arrival (Itsejohtaminen tekee tuloaan). Written by Katja Alaja / Tekniikka & Talous, August 2005.
  • From external control to self-management (Ulkoisesta kontrollista itsejohtamiseen). Työ Terveys Turvallisuus 1/2005, written by Susanna Kaaja.
  • The Emancipated Worker? A Foucauldian Study of Power, Subjectivity and Organising in the Information Age. LSE Press and Information Office, 2004.