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  • Cited by 14
  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: May 2010

12 - New Times and New Literacies: Themes for a Changing World



Before I talk about new literacies for new times, let me start with old literacies for old times. First, by old times I mean the old capitalism (industrial capitalism, Fordism). The old capitalism (Drucker, 1999; Kanigel, 1997) is a social formation that has been transformed by our current high-tech, global new capitalism (see Castells, 1996; Gee, Hull, & Lankshear, 1996; Greider, 1997; Reich, 1992; Smith, 1995). The old capitalism did not disappear, it still exists as a foregrounded formation in the “developing world” and as a backgrounded formation in the “developed world” (Drucker, 1999; Greider, 1997).

The old capitalism was born in warfare between workers and bosses over how work would be done and how fast it should be carried out (Kanigel, 1997). In the end, the workers lost the battle. Thanks to “Taylorism,” work came to be carried out at a pace and in terms of procedures determined by a “science” of efficiency, not by workers themselves. The craft knowledge of the workers was removed from the workers' heads and bodies and placed into the science of work, the rules of the workplace, and the dictates of managers and bosses. A top-down system was created in terms of which knowledge and control existed at the top (the bosses) and not at the bottom (the workers). Middle managers conveyed and mediated knowledge, information, and control between the top and the bottom.

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