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Systemmänniskan: En studie om människan, automationen och det senmoderna förnuftet
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5870-7541
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

How did the conformist “organization man” of modern welfare society turn into the restless and flexible market-rational individualist of late-modernity? And what role did technology play in this transformation? Drawing from inquiries like these, this doctoral thesis deals with topics such as technology, culture, and the production of social consciousness. The aim of the study is to elucidate the historical emergence of late-modern reason, visible in the socio-material process of automation.

The study takes two mundane technical innovations as starting points to investigate dominant social values and rationalities embedded in, and emerging from material transformations in the production process of two late modern, Swedish organizations. Covering a period of roughly fifty years (1960–2013), the analysis relies on the interpretation of a variety of both contemporary and archived sources, including interviews, observations, witness accounts and archived material in the form of staff magazines, newspapers, photographs and official documents.

While following a hermeneutical tradition of European ethnology the study is also an attempt to enrich its synchronous cultural analysis of everyday life with theory grounded in historical (dialectical) materialism. Along this line of thought the thesis suggests that many of the qualities, values and everyday experiences attributed to late-modernity, such as “flexibility”, “creativity” and “flat organizations” depend on the reification and embedding of modernist social forms, ideas and relations, such as instrumental rationality, routine labour and bureaucratic taxonomy into the material foundation of daily life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för kulturantropologi och etnologi, Uppsala universitet , 2016. , 211 p.
Etnolore, ISSN 0280-9559 ; 36
Keyword [en]
automation, culture, technology, social consciousness, reification, material-ity, modernity, late modernity, labour, production, consumption, service, division of labour
Keyword [sv]
automation, kultur, teknik, socialt medvetande, reifikation, materialitet, modernitet, senmodernitet, arbete, service, arbetsdelning
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-300688ISBN: 978-91-506-2587-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-300688DiVA: diva2:951929
Public defence
2016-09-30, Geijersalen 6-1023, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-09-07 Created: 2016-08-10 Last updated: 2016-09-07

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Bodén, Daniel
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