Democracy in an Age of Corporate Colonization

Developments in Communication and the Politics of Everyday Life

By Stanley A. Deetz

Subjects: American Labor History
Series: SUNY series in Communication Studies
Paperback : 9780791408643, 412 pages, February 1992
Hardcover : 9780791408636, 412 pages, March 1992

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Table of contents



1. Corporate Colonization of the Life World

2. Communication and the Politics of Everyday Life

3. The Role of Communication Studies

4. The Historical Relation of Communication and Democracy

5. Language and the Poltics of Experience

6. Participation as a Normative Ideal for Democracy and Communication

7. Systematically Distorted Communication and Discursive Closure

8. The Rise of the Modern Corporate Form

9. The "Subject" and Discourse of Managerialism

10. Disciplinary Power and Discursive Formations at Work

11. The Imaginary World of Work: Reproblematizing the Oblivious

12. Workplace Democracy as a Responsive Micropractice


Name Index

Subject Index


According to Deetz, our obsolete understanding of communication processes and power relations prevents us from seeing the corporate domination of public decision making. For most people issues of democracy, representation, freedom of speech, and censorship pertain to the State and its relationship to individuals and groups, and are linked to occasional political processes rather than everyday life decisions. This work reclaims the politics of personal identity and experience within the work environment as a first step to a democratic form of public decision-making appropriate to the modern context.

Stanley A. Deetz is Professor of Communication at Rutgers University. He is co-author of Managing Interpersonal Communication, and currently edits the Communication Yearbook series.


"This book is sophisticated, powerful, lucid, and pointed in style and organization. In a field where general theoretic development is relatively rare, this book will certainly become a foundation for later research and theoretic argument. " — Robert D. McPhee, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"The topic is extremely important and timely. The book makes a significant contribution to the current debate about the place of discursive practices in social institutions by focusing on work organizations and relationships. It fills a gap in research on social institutions and human emancipation by centering communication as a way of understanding/conceptualizing the institutions and social relations under investigation. " — Stephen P. Banks, University of Idaho