On the Cultural Meaning of Work in Postindustrial Societies


The paper discusses the question of the cultural meaning of work in postindustrial societies and pleads for a wider anthropological perspective on this topic. Based on a critique of postmodern discourses of our society it will be shown that work in our individualistic society still has a central and positive meaning although it underlies the typical ambivalence of modernity between liberty and discipline. Prejudices against the unemployed, just as the memories and experiences of workers in a mining community, show a positive attitude towards work. Even under unfavourable conditions people develop specific and creative ways to organize work that refer to more than just the necessity of subsistence.

How to Cite

Moser, J., (1998) “On the Cultural Meaning of Work in Postindustrial Societies”, Ethnologia Europaea 28(1), p.55-66. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.879

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.



Johannes Moser (Johann Wolfgang Universität)



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