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A Company of One: Insecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment Paperback – February 21, 2011

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ISBN-13: 978-0801477270 ISBN-10: 0801477271 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"In A Company of One, Carrie Lane reveals ways in which unemployed technology workers seek to manage the uncharted territory between jobs. She documents the strategies these workers use and analyzes the cultural logic through which they understand unemployment. Her analysis reveals the contradictions of an ideology of independence that obscures structural disadvantage and impedes recognition of broader relations of power. . . . Historically and geographically situated, this book helps to explain the resilience of individualism. Ideas about work, Lane shows, can withstand considerable challenge and yet continue to inform both meaning and action."―Debra Osnowitz, British Journal of Industrial Relations (September 2012)

"A Company of One is a commendable addition to the growing literature on the New Economy. Carrie Lane makes her contribution by focusing on the ideologies and internal thought processes of workers affected by tumultuous employment and the emphasis on career management, rather than just on the documentation of those trends. . . A Company of One is smoothly written, well organized and a pleasure to read. . . Lane accomplishes what she set out to do, which was to detail how individuals wrap their minds around tumultuous employment and march on." ―Kathryn Densberger, University of Richmond, The British Sociological Association(2014)

"A Company of One is terrific. It is refreshingly direct, carefully researched, well written and organized, framed in a novel and useful fashion, and, of serendipitous if grim circumstance, appears at an opportune time. Carrie M. Lane provides a marvelous summary of critical shifts in career structures and accompanying ideologies, both justifying and supporting increasingly insecure and episodic career paths, told in the voices of job-seeking high-tech workers."―John Van Maanen, Erwin H. Schell Professor of Organization Studies, MIT

"In this rich and sobering book, Carrie M. Lane offers a window into the lived complexities of neoliberalism. Here global high-tech restructuring is unearthed among American white collar middle classes, for whom anxiety, insecurity, and rugged individualism are resounding and sometimes perplexing bedfellows. A Company of One is a powerful and prescient ethnography with a subtle reading of gender, class, politics, and the meanings of work and selfhood in times of economic flux."―Carla Freeman, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies, Emory University


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: ILR Press; 1 edition (February 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801477271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801477270
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carrie M. Lane is an Associate Professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton where she teaches courses on white-collar work, American communities, ethnographic research methods, and U.S. history. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Princeton University. She was born in Camden, New Jersey and grew up in Bakersfield, California.

Her first book, A Company of One: Insecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment (Cornell University Press, 2011), follows a group of unemployed high-technology workers as they and their families deal with the emotional, professional, and financial challenges of layoffs and prolonged unemployment. Rather than relying on impersonal statistics to tell the story of unemployed Americans Lane places individual job seekers at the center of her story, examining what it means to lose a job and search for a new one in a world of increasingly insecure employment.

Lane is currently working on a new project concerning professional organizers and their clients in Los Angeles, CA.

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