Chapter 7: The Culture of Management: Self-Interest, Empathy and Emotional Control
Eva Illouz What an enormous price man had to pay for reason, seriousness, control over his emotions – those grand human prerogatives and cultural showpieces! How much blood and horror lies behind all ‘good things’! (F.W. Nietzsche, quoted in Smith, 1971: 31) 7.1 INTRODUCTION The impact of capitalism on social relations has been the central puzzle of classical sociology, with most of the founders of the discipline agreeing that capitalism posed a serious threat to our capacity to create meaning and maintain social relationships. This chapter shows that under the aegis of psychologists who started to massively intervene in the American corporation from the 1930s onward, the deployment of rationality inside economic organisations counter-intuitively went hand in hand with an intensiﬁcation of emotional life. Second, the chapter argues that psychologists, acting simultaneously as professionals and as producers of culture, have not only codiﬁed emotional conduct inside the workplace but, more crucially, made ‘self-interest’, ‘eﬃciency’ and ‘instrumentality’ into valid cultural repertoires. Finally, the chapter argues that in becoming cultural repertoires of action, ‘self-interest’ and ‘eﬃciency’ actually generated and organised new models of sociability, most noticeably the model of communication. Psychological cultural frames drew from and merged with the cultural matrix of the market and thus came to orient the self, provide it with strategies of action and, perhaps more crucially, shape new forms of sociability. For the study of social entrepreneurship, this cultural development is of interest for at least three reasons. First, it centrally involves the concept...
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