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Time-Space Discipline of Upper Classes in Global Capitalism: Top Managers, International Artists, and Global Academics—a Comparison

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AbstractOne contribution towards current research into social structures and the relative geometries of power among the TCC in global capitalism can be derived from a form of power—the power over one’s own rhythm and that of others—largely unexplored by existing work. In this article I focus on the link between time-space discipline imposed by production on some fraction of the TCC and their power over time and space of co-workers and subordinates. I introduce some findings obtained from a recent research I carried out on a sample of more than 50 people: top and middle managers of multinationals and, as comparison groups, international artists, global academics, big investors.I will first illustrate, in the footsteps of Thompson and Harvey, the perspective according to which capitalism has always been, in technical terms, a mode of production based on the precise regulation of time and space imposed on those socio-professional groups fitting into the division of labor to different levels and degrees. I will then detail the two declinations of power over rhythm, as they have emerged over the course of my fieldwork. The first declination is autodirect power, expressing the degrees of freedom/subordination in the determination of one’s own time and space, and it has come out of an analysis of the time and space links imposed on those taking part in the research sample. The second declination is power over time and space of others, and has come out from an analysis of the division of labor among their subordinates and co-workers, notably concerning the norm of international geographic mobility in global capitalism.

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