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

Hannele Huhtala
The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters (December 2004)

This book looks at organisational 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, organisational control is examined through the changing landscape of power, subject and organisation.

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

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

Hannele Huhtala is a research scholar in organisational and social psychology at LSE. 

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