New times and new literacies: Themes for a changing world

James Paul Gee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

21 Scopus citations


THE OLD CAPITALISM Before I talk about new literacies for new times, let me start with old literacies for old times. First, by old times I mean the old capitalism (industrial capitalism, Fordism). The old capitalism (Drucker, 1999; Kanigel, 1997) is a social formation that has been transformed by our current high-tech, global new capitalism (see Castells, 1996; Gee, Hull, & Lankshear, 1996; Greider, 1997; Reich, 1992; Smith, 1995). The old capitalism did not disappear, it still exists as a foregrounded formation in the “developing world” and as a backgrounded formation in the “developed world” (Drucker, 1999; Greider, 1997). The old capitalism was born in warfare between workers and bosses over how work would be done and how fast it should be carried out (Kanigel, 1997). In the end, the workers lost the battle. Thanks to “Taylorism,” work came to be carried out at a pace and in terms of procedures determined by a “science” of efficiency, not by workers themselves. The craft knowledge of the workers was removed from the workers' heads and bodies and placed into the science of work, the rules of the workplace, and the dictates of managers and bosses. A top-down system was created in terms of which knowledge and control existed at the top (the bosses) and not at the bottom (the workers). Middle managers conveyed and mediated knowledge, information, and control between the top and the bottom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBakhtinian Perspectives on Language, Literacy, and Learning
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780511755002
ISBN (Print)9780521831055
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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