The language of work

  • Christian Marazzi
Keywords: Performative language, Work, Fordism, Digitalization, Financialization, Datafication


Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have witnessed the consolidation of an economic paradigm that is not only different from the previous one, but even reversed. In the traditional productive world, characterised by large-scale Fordist-type industry, there was a dry dichotomy: 'either work or talk'.  By contrast, in the contemporary age of financial capitalism, the risk society and hyper-productivity, work and language become sides of the same coin. This paradigmatic shift is the result of globalisation and financialisation, two processes that have forced companies to 'breathe with the market', to flexibilise ways of working and minimise costs, but above all to transform communication into a real factor of production within a web of production networks and planetary supply chains. The effects of this 'working by communicating' are diverse and remarkable, but one must be particularly considered: it never comes off! When language is a fully-fledged part of the toolbox, one carries it with one outside work as well. Which forces one to reflect on the relationship between work and life, on the meaning that work must have if life is to be worth living.


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How to Cite
Marazzi, C. (2023) “The language of work”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 17(2). doi: 10.4396/20231201.