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Text and Work in the New Capitalism

The project aims at investigating the role played by written texts in the new work order, as symbolic artefacts and mediators of knowledge and experience. One point of departure is the fact that an increasing number of occupations involve what might be called symbol-analytic work, i.e. the interpretation of signs, mainly through reading and writing. We want to study the activities and roles that involve such work, and thereby reach a deeper understanding of how discourse works in what is sometimes called the new capitalism. Related to this is the exploration of how (written) discourse is used in the construction and re-construction of work-related knowledge in interaction between people with different occupational backgrounds and different roles in the organization. Research into communication in working life often focuses on either professional texts and interaction or on so called blue collar work. In this project we are rather interested in the encounters between “white collars” and “blue collars”, the interaction processes where meaning is negotiated and different perspectives meet. According to earlier research, written texts are likely to play a crucial part in these processes. In the project, ethnographic fieldwork will be combined with interviews and analysis of texts and conversations. Theoretically, it belongs in a multi-disciplinary field where New Literacy Studies meet socio-semiotic discourse analysis and socio-cultural theories of learning. Important concepts are activity, mediational means and re-contextualization.

Senast ändrad 21 april 2007