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By Armand Mattelart

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From now on, two projects of decentralisation confront one another in advanced capitalist societies, which shows the vulnerability of the apparatus of domination. In one project, the bourgeoisie feel the need to "decentralise" its mechanisms of power without ever losing its hold on them; decentralisation within concentration! ) The decentralisation envisaged in this perspective becomes a way of relegitimising an increasingly de-legitimised centralised power. J. Servan-Schreiber and Alvin Toffler, who see a panacea for under-development and the crisis of institutions in the new computer technologies.

The increased segmentation of the collective workforce into molecular units (autonomous teams, systems etc); atomisation of the worker in work units by a high division of work tasks (work processes are increasingly conceived for interchangeable workers with "push-button", surveillance" or "questionresponse" tasks greatly multiplied); the uncertainty of work through a down-grading of the great mass of "executors" and the banalisation of their jobs; delocalisation of work in time and space (part-time work, work at home, work at great distance from the home; US experts have calculated that in today's industrial society, 20-25% of jobs could be done at home); weak trade union membership in the sectors and enterprises affected by computerisation and automatisation; and new differenciation of the social groups within the enterprise (employees covered by it and those unprotected with their cohort of temporary imd contractual workers, holiday workers, and the multiplication of sub-contracting).

If it is true that the past has to help us to think the present and to judge it critically, it is also true that the present imposes on us a way of reading the past. It is one of those periods in which to appraise past and marks a turning point for the future. A time of restructuring and reflection on past strategies, a changing of the relations of force, a time, some will say, of crisis, implicitly thinking of degeneration without ever seeing in it the germs of new possibilities. It is a time of crises of thought, theory, models for an approach to reality, of a way of life, of a mode of production and of a mode of group organisation.

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