In this major work, the sociologists Eve Chiapello and Luc Boltanski suggest that we should be addressing the crisis of anticapitalist critique by exploring its very roots.
Via an unprecedented analysis of management texts which influenced the thinking of employers and contributed to reorganization of companies over the last decades, the authors trace the contours of a new spirit of capitalism. From the middle of the 1970s onwards, capitalism abandoned the hierarchical Fordist work structure and developed a new network-based form of organization which was founded on employee initiative and relative work autonomy, but at the cost of material and psychological security.
This new spirit of capitalism triumphed thanks to a remarkable recuperation of the "artistic critique" -- that which, after May 1968, attacked the alienation of everyday life by capitalism and bureaucracy. At the same time, the "social critique" was disarmed by the appearance of neocapitalism and remained fixated on the old schemas of hierarchical production.