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Surf's Up: Work, Life, Balance and Brand in a New Age Capitalist Organization

Chris Land and Scott Taylor
Sociology
Vol. 44, No. 3 (JUNE 2010), pp. 395-413
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42857411
Page Count: 19
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Abstract

This article reframes the notion of work/life balance through analysis of branding and the immaterial labour process in a 'new age capitalist' organization. The company does not manufacture material products; rather, value is produced through branding imported goods to promote 'alternative' ways of living. This is achieved through incorporation of leisure activities and lifestyles of key employees, effectively putting their 'lives' to 'work' in the creation of value for the company. For employees, therefore, much work actually takes place notionally outside or on the margins of their formally employed space and time. We argue that this qualitatively transforms the conceptions of, and relations between, work and life that underpin the concept of work/life balance. We conclude by exploring the tensions generated by organizational incorporation of employee autonomy in the pursuit of aspirational branding.

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