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ISSN 0869-5377
The Logos Journal

Transformation of Labor and its Temporalities: Chronological Disorientation and the Colonization of Non-working Time

Author: Corsani Antonella

About author:
PhD in Economics, Researcher at the Institute of Historical Dynamics of Economics and Society ), Lecturer at the Economic Faculty at Pentheon-Sorbonne University Paris 1. Address: 16 Carnot Blvd, 92340 Bourg-la Reine, France. E-mail:

One hundred years ago, Еmil Lederer supposed that the transition from the condition of independence to the status of employee caused a change in temporal perception. After the war, Georges Friedmann realized that in Taylorism and Stakhanovism, work time and free time are closely connected: for an employee, leisure time is a time of escape from dissatisfaction due to split labor. In this article, the autho argues that we are facing yet another important change due to the transformation of the employee into a self-entrepreneur, signalling a transition from split labor to split employment. Two major aspects of this change are analyzed: а) temporal disorientation caused by the loss of the temporal horizon crucial for one’s existence; b) colonization of free time by the task of constant self-production (André Gorz). We can interpret such an anthropological change in two ways: 1) time control is no longer mediated by disciplinary practices, but is rather run by technologies of neoliberal governments whose aim is the submission of any social form to the managerial ethos (following ideas of Michel Foucault); 2) perceptions of existential time result in a global process of social acceleration, where the project of modernity turns against itself (following Hartmut Rosa). Now, the fundamental fear people have is to miss opportunities or crucial connections. The organization of free time also becomes the subject of such a fear. The semantics of free time are now filled by notions of duty and obligation: I must do sports, I have to read newspapers, and so on.

Keywords: employment; salary relations; self-employed; split labor; temporal relations; production of self

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