The New Spirit of Capitalism and the Critique of Work in France Since May ’68

  • Alastair Hemmens
Part of the Studies in Revolution and Literature book series (SRL)


This chapter examines the normative changes that have taken place in attitudes to work since the events of May ’68 in France. The chapter explores the ‘crisis of work’ that shook France in the 1970s as the ‘artistic critique’, examined in previous chapters, finally found a large following among workers and young people who resisted or outright rejected the post-war social framework of labour and consumption. At the same time, it considers how, towards the end of the 1970s, a ‘new spirit of capitalism’ (Boltanski and Chiapello) began to gradually emerge that incorporated many aspects of the ‘artistic critique’ back into capitalism. The chapter concludes with a consideration of contemporary critiques of ‘abstract labour’ such as that of Jean-Marie Vincent.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alastair Hemmens
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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