Status symbols often have to do with making freedom conspicuous. This may be the freedom to spend money without concern—say, on a car that requires speciality care—or to wield social influence—whether it be as the host of a dinner party or as a military commander. Anthony Elliott discusses how this need to demonstrate freedom is the case for professionals in the globalized world of modern corporations. In such a vast and nebulous environment, where change is constant and unpredictable, status is conferred on the basis of our demonstration of freedom from reliance on, or restriction to, any particular arrangement. But as individuals, this constant reconfiguration can be a burden, as we become disassociated from traditional and secure dimensions of self-identity.
DateFebruary 24, 2015TitleBig Ideas: The Reinvention RevolutionSegment00:24:47 – 00:26:30Anthony Elliott:
I think it’s evident that there is a new corporate ethos. A new corporate ethos, which is really suggesting that flexibility and adaptability are somehow and seemingly the only adequate responses to a world of thoroughgoing globalization. This new corporate ethos as I see it is a world that is generating a new paradigm of self-making. This new paradigm of self-making is a paradigm that is one geared towards individuals being required to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps and to get on with the task of restructuring, reorganizing, refashioning, recalibrating—both in their personal, crucially in their professional lives. This is a paradigm of self-making that requires the bearers—you and I as subjects of these particular reinvention subjectivities—to demonstrate to others, but to demonstrate to ourselves, that our identities are inherently pliable, adaptable, flexible. That there’s some inherent plasticity to them. What the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bowman has brilliantly characterized as the emergence of a liquid modernity.