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The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  841 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Drawing on interviews with dismissed IBM executives, bakers in a high-tech bakery, a bar owner turned advertising executive and others, the author explores the disorientating effects of the new capitalism in America. This book explores the contrast between the vanished world of rigid, hierachical organizations, where what mattered was a sense of personal character, and the ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 30th 1998 by W. W. Norton & Co. (first published 1996)
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Gizem Kendik
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Selamlar Richard,

İş dünyasının sahteliğini çözecem diyenler ve beyaz yakalı sendikalıların trendisin (bknz: http://plazaeylemplatformu.wordpress....).
En başından, somut bireysel deneyimlere yedirilmiş fikirlerin için özür sunmayacağını belirtmişsin ve zaten çoğu kesim, somut hayat kesitleriyle teorileri, izlenimleri ve tespitleri uyumlu bir şekilde aktarmanı olumlu karşılamış. Ekonomik trendleri gösteren istatistik tablolarına rağmen “sonra onun IBM’de çalışmaya devam eden” kaynının söylediğine
Tom Ewing
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written in 1998, the year I entered the corporate world Richard Sennett describes, one of networked authority, teamwork, and above all "flexibility" in the face of relentless change. So I'm intimately familiar with much of what he discusses in this slim, bleak, but humane book - particularly the way the change and 'disruption' of globalism are presented as impersonal, irresistible forces.

The Corrosion Of Character is about what happens to people's sense of themselves in these condi
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: socio, anthropology
Notlarımı toparlayabilirsem daha uzunca bir yazı yazacağım. Ancak kitabı bitirirken aklımda kalan bir iki noktaya değineyim.

Kitap hakikaten oldukça iyi yazılmış: Bugünün oldukça popüler kötü yazımının 'name-dropping', gösterişli kavramların gerekli-gereksiz kullanımından ziyade kavramaların yerli yerinde, atıfların da gerekli olduğu noktalarda yapbozu dolduracak bir biçimde kullanıldığını görüyoruz.

Kitabın ilk bölümlerinde Sennett'in kendi saha deneyimlerini genelleme biçimiyle ilgili ciddi ra
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Sennett’s influential 1998 book, The Corrosion of Character has important things to say about the nature of modern work. He has a theory, partly based on his own place in the generational scheme of life (as a baby-boomer) that tries to delineate normal and acceptable work patterns from the abnormal and unacceptable in terms of personal identity in the realm of work. What stands out in my mind in this study by Sennett is the provisional nature of work arrangements in today's economy and t ...more
Cintia Andrade
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Citado pelo Joel Birman no maravilhoso O sujeito na contemporaneidade, "A corrosão do caráter" trata da fragmentação do sujeito contemporâneo a partir da fragilização das relações com o trabalho. Excelente.
Guida Allès
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociologia
Reflexió sobre limpacte del capitalisme flexible sobre el caràcter i les relacions. El caràcter (=el valor ètic q atribuÏm a les nostres relacions, Horaci) va més enllà de la personalitat (=desitjos i sentiments interns).

El major tabú del capitalisme actual és la por a fracassar. Fracassar vol dir NO PODER ESTRUCTURAR UNA VIDA PERSONAL COHERENT, NO PODER REALITZAR ALLÒ PRECIÓS QUE DUIM DINS, NO SABER VIURE, SINÓ JUST EXISTIR. A la societat actual, les persones afronten el fracàs seguint aquest
Rachel Bayles
Worth the read. Multi-dimensional. Somewhat stream of consciousness. A quick and easy to digest introduction to an important topic.
Jun 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sennett may be a little too nostalgic about unions and hierarchical corporate structures and some readers will not like how he frames his arguments in relation to a few people he meets and interviews, but that shouldn't get in the way of his real achievement here: Sennett brings clarity to why the emphasis on teams and flexibility and leaders who don't take ultimate responsibility but let everything slide off of them confuses, depresses and, yes, corrodes the character of workers, many of whom w ...more
Carlos Luso
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a person who had multiple internships around the globe, it's amazing to see how the book accurately describes the current workplace. Fortunately, in Portugal, we are years away from this awfull regime. The future shows us that the workplace will not become better for its employees.
José Vázquez
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hasta cierto punto no sé si La Corrosión del Carácter es uno de esos ensayos que se leen para autoafirmarte, una voz más en nuestra cámara de eco, o si realmente es un libro que mucha gente debería leer. No sé si leerlo en 2016 hace que todo lo que Sennett predijo (o comenzó a vislumbrar) en 1998 nos parezca demasiado evidente. Lo que sí es cierto es que habla de ese indefinible "vacío moral existencial" en el que nos movemos los que trabajamos hoy en día, sometidos a un marasmo de flexibilidad: ...more
Is there a better way to argue that the ridiculous material gains our ever-expanding economy has afforded us over the past 2+ decades are accrued at the unacceptable of crippling the human spirit than with a few poorly selected, hardly relevant anecdotes?

If there is, the author didn't seem to think it worth exploring. So, instead, we get tear-jerking stories of a woman whose colleagues didn't listen to her at an ad agency, or a guy who had held eleven jobs in eleven years out of college because
Rohith Jyothish
As a PhD student, you are always on the look for those books or papers that give you a proper perspective to think from. I had come across Sennett's work when Janaki Nair, who is a noted historian in India reviewed one of his books in a journal. Richard Sennett's 'The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism' is a book that makes you drop everything and stare at the ceiling for a few hours after. He travels from political economy to social theory to psychoa ...more
Anne Lee
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and in depth look at how our personal and social lives are affected by the market place and how changes within it have diminished opportunities to develop character. Not character in the tv series sense - or character in the isn't that heavy drinker amusing sense but character in the sense that a person is able to discern long term good and the good as a whole and strive toward that not putting necessarily putting aside personal benefit but understanding the difference and make ju ...more
Marilia Chaves
Um estudo que comprova como a cultura corporativa se alterou ao longo dos séculos XIX e XX. Hoje essa cultura oferece pouca segurança (em todos os sentidos) e uma estrutura que facilita com que as pessoas não tenham os valores morais humanos básicos ao ganharem a vida. O estudo é ótimo e profundo, mas o autor não faz nenhuma proposição de um modelo mais saudável para trabalhar e lucrar. Esperava mais.
Timothy McCluskey
Sennett is a remarkable thinker. He is spot-on in his observations on the emerging work force and its impact on community and family. We are forgetting the importance of 'social capital' in creation of wealth. Without the social relationship that form trust, the market culture collapses.
Andrea Olson
Aug 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

My little brother's math textbook was more interesting and better written than this. His writing was so dry and boring, I couldn't focus long enough to see the points he was trying to make. The title had such promise.
Titus Hjelm
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant example of the sociological essay. Great read for all sociologists even if outside their own specialisation.
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bastante revelador, la verdad.
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heavy shit.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lectura obligatoria para una asignatura de la universidad de Tampere. Me ha decepcionado profundamente.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book and one I needed to read. Not so much a pop science book on the new capitalism but more of a long essay on how to find meaning through our life's narrative.

Some quotes:

> His will has become static; he is trapped in the sheer assertion of values.

> He is a manager of process. His job, facilitation and mediation, can be, with enough savoir faire, divorced from outcome.

> The authors of the SCANS and similar studies are realists: they know the economy today emphasizes immediate
Katherine L
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has read any career website or even glanced at Linked In articles has probably become (over) familiar with the importance placed these days on teamwork, flexibility, broad networking, and personal branding.

Richard Sennett argues that this focus is a direct consequence of the way we now think about capitalism, and further argues that this mindset causes fundamental problems with the way we see ourselves. Put starkly, he suggests that the "older" virtues of character: loyalty, responsib
Bernard Leckning
The reviews here as elsewhere are quite derisive of Sennett's methodology - or lack of it. In "The Fall of Public Man", where he adopts a similar approach to a different subject, Sennett is clearer about his somewhat unorthodox methods - "postholing", as he calls it, is a way of illustrating something more general by looking in depth at a particular phenomenon. In fact, there's nothing terribly unorthodox about this, other than Sennett does not seem to feel compelled to explain or follow his met ...more
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book presents a series of related essays on the negative influences of the "new capitalism" - by which is meant a range of changed behaviors by originally British and American firms but now increasingly European and Asian firms that focus on rationalizing the workplace and breaking down more traditional aspects of social organization, organizational culture, and climate - although the phenomena are known by other names. The overall punchline of the book is downsizing, outsourcing, deskillin ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Corrosion of character is a fascinating book, though more, as the author confesses, an extended essay of source with a single over-riding thesis; that the change to 'flexible' work conditions in the workplace results in the erosion of traditional markers of character. That people can no longer find definition and narrative in their working lives because those lives are both divorced from what they do(i.e. Bakers now press buttons on a windows based machine, they have no connection to the act ...more
Theophilo Pinto
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este livro, escrito em 1998, mostra como as transformações no campo de trabalho das grandes corporações modificaram as relações entre elas e seus empregados. O cenário que Sennett pinta não é bonito: deixam de ser importantes o compromisso e a experiência profissional. Em seu lugar, entra o convívio com mudanças que não se pode controlar e as relações entre as pessoas de um modo muito mais superficial. O que achei curioso, também, é que a palavra 'caráter', muito ligada ao comportamento, é tema ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some compelling ideas about how neoliberal capitalism is leading to complications in how people see themselves and narrate their own lives. Narration of life seems to be the key sociological focus point of the book, but Sennett never really explains why narration is so important, and why a more fractured narration is such a bad, unmanageable thing. The book was published in 1998, so it looks make to the pre-Reagan 20th century as the past that is corroding. Macro economics, the working life, and ...more
Jerry Peace
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wish I would have read this in '98. Loyalty to employer- "The modern culture of risk is peculiar in that failure to move is taken as a sin of failure, stability seeming almost a living death. The destination therefore matters less than the act of departure. ...To stay put is to be left out." And age- "The current conditions of corporate life are full of prejudices against middle age, disposed to deny the worth of a person's past experience....arguing that older workers have inflexible mind-sets ...more
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. No doubt about it.

I only have one problem with it. It tries to be a scientific book. It isn`t.

Methodological, this book falls through. The story is great, the ideas are, although not necessary new, interresting. None of this matter, when the collection of data (method) - is of such low quality. Why am I left with the feeling that most of the characters are created?

Why is this a problem? Science is based on observation and categorization of knowledge.

When Mr. Sennet constru
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Embora interessante, o autor adota uma perspectiva muito centrada no caso norte-americano para chegar a conclusões supostamente universais. As aparentes virtudes das organizações hierarquizadas e do controle sindical não, se foram marcantes nos EUA do pôs-guerra, não o foram em todos os países, e o Brasil é um exemplo disso.

Em vista disso há que se questionar se o ambiente político-institucional não afeta a formação de nosso caráter muito mais intensamente que as relações de trabalho.

O próprio
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Richard Sennett has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts -- about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Mr. Sen ...more
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“Rico'nun 'hurda' tanımına uyduğunu söylemek güç olsa da, o kendisinin teknik bilgi açısından 'gerileme dönemine' girmek üzere olduğunu düşünüyor. Bu noktada, toplumun gençliğe yaptığı vurguyla, kendisinin yaşlanma konusundaki fikirleri birleşiyor. Toplumsal önyargı, kişinin içindeki güçten düşme korkusunu körüklüyor.” 1 likes
“The top managers are defensive about these departures; they point to how safe, attractive, and up-to-date the workplace is. Rodney Everts is less defensive but equally perplexed. “When somebody tells me there’s no future here, I ask what they want. They don’t know; they tell me you shouldn’t be stuck in one place.” Fortunately, the job market in Boston for low-wage workers is strong at the moment, but there is something puzzling about the sheer impulse to get out.” 1 likes
More quotes…