Landscapes of Global Capital
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It is obvious to those familiar with the culture of television advertising that the medium demands tight compression and abbreviation of references. Most references to work or to workplace relationships must be compressed into a matter of seconds, and sometimes fractions of seconds. Ads rarely dwell on the workplace for the purpose of spelling out an extended narrative about the meanings of labor. That said, we can begin by observing some stock signifiers of work and workplaces.

SIGNIFIER

IMAGE

SIGNIFIED

REFERENT

hardhat

Work signifier

construction worker; blue-collar worker, working class

A hat devised to protect the skull from falling objects.

briefcase

Work signifier

executive, lawyer

A leather or leather-like case used to carry papers about - frequently associated with lawyers.

Fordist assembly line

Work signifier

muscle-assisted machine labor

early industrialization

Economiies of scale

Centralization

Detailed Division of Labor

Post-Fordist assembly line

Work signifier

high tech

robot precision

Economies of scope

Decentalization

Flexible labor

cubefarm

Work signifier

corporate workspaces for those without status or position

an "efficient" means of organizing spaces as standardized work areas, aka cubicles; hence also an aspect of proletarianized white collar work

keyboard

Work signifier

office work

secretarial

a device for typing or inputting data into computers

computer screen

Work signifier

computers

technology

the window to cyberspace

skyscraper

Work signifier

corporate power

urban centers

part of the built environment of global cities; mostly developed as rent property of, and for, corporate capital.


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Signifying Clusters

Structural Frames

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© Copyright 1998-2003
Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey