California State University, Fullerton

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Faculty Work Wins Anthropology Book Prize

Aug. 15, 2012

Carrie M. Lane

Carrie M. Lane

Carrie M. Lane’s book, “A Company of One: Insecurity, Independence and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment” (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011), is the winner of the 2012 Book Prize awarded by the Society for the Anthropology of Work, a section of the American Anthropological Association.

In “A Company of One,” the award citation reads, "Carrie Lane brings together a large body of scholarship on neoliberalism and her own in-depth research in the Dallas area to show how contemporary white collar workers deal with their careers and sense of identity in an era of job insecurity. Three years of research interviewing laid-off high-tech workers—focusing on their 'own words and experiences' . . . provides the basis for an incisive discussion of work today."

"The topic of unemployment . . . stands out as a burning public issue, making this a timely, ground-breaking study,” the book prize judges noted.

“The coverage of the relevant literature on meritocratic individualism, among other themes, is masterful. Particularly strong is the assessment of changing gender roles in comparing the current wave of unemployment to previous recessions. Lane interweaves the words of her interlocutors into her analysis of unemployment, exploring the work of non-work and the repercussions of the ongoing crisis. She demonstrates how laid-off workers buy into an ideology that puts the burden of global economic and political problems on their own shoulders. Her excellent writing makes this book appealing to a wide audience within and beyond anthropology.”

Lane, associate professor of American studies, joined the Cal State Fullerton faculty in 2005. She earned her Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University and B.A. in cultural anthropology from Princeton University. “A Company of One” is her first book.

Lane recently spent two weeks as an Advertising Educational Foundation Visiting Professor at the Marina del Rey advertising agency Deutch L.A., where she delivered a lecture on her corporate unemployment research. The lecture is available for viewing online.

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