An overview of the argument of the book, the Introduction discusses postwar literature and art in light of the transformation of advanced capitalist economies, in particular the shift from the production of goods to the provision of services and the expansion of white-collar and in-person service work. Through an examination of some key examples, Bernes argues that the neo-avant-garde language of “participation,” aiming to overcome the hierarchical relationship between writer and reader, artist and audience, anticipated and contributed to a shift in management theory toward new horizontal forms of corporate structure, undertaken in response to the widespread rebellion against the “anachronistic authoritarianism” of the postwar workplace. Bernes summarizes the main chapters of the book as well as its conclusions and finishes with a general discussion of periodization and historicization, elucidating his unique methodology in light of Marxist debates about historical causality.
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