Textual Guerrillas in the Corporate Mists















This is an abstract from a paper I gave at the Pacific Sociological Association in the late 1990s.  I got the paper still but have never sought to publish it.

The contemporary workplace is a site of an ongoing guerrilla warfare in which workers clandestinely take control of time, space, their own bodies and voices to creatively resist managerial control of the labor process. I learned about this underground battlefield of class struggle and practiced it every day in my role of clerical worker for a large aerospace firm in Southern California in the early 1990s. I learned that capitalist domination is not complete not total, for within the cracks and crevices of the dominating structures of contemporary corporations, workers continually commandeer the worklplace for their own ends. This story is about some of the everyday occupational struggles I encountered in this workplace and one set of tactices employed by a rebel gang of clerical workers,that I call the Sneaky Saboteurs. Specifically, this paper focuses on a set of worker-created cultural artifacts drawn from this now-defunct aerospace firm. I hope to address the lacunae of research on textual representation in the workplace by briefly describing a spoof on the corporate newsletter created and circulated by the Sneaky Saboteurs. To understand this playful parody I begin by contxtualizing the discusion of Sparrow Life, the pseudonym I use for this publication, with the ongoing political and social experiences of the workers, including myself.


 

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