Two months ago, I set out to answer the question, "why do we work?" I haven't answered it yet, but I feel like I know a lot more than I did back then. Namely, I know how much I don't know. The writing I've been doing over the last two months is helping to firm … Continue reading The Book I’m Currently Writing
In this post, I want to turn from the idea of home as a refuge from the public to consider the centrality of the ‘household’ to work, perhaps as the first tentative step towards a ‘history of the present’ of work. Remember the aim of a history of the present is not to look for … Continue reading The Fall of the ‘Household’
In my readings on the history of work thus far, I’ve come across a fairly stable trend in how thinkers about work think about work. At the beginning of the 21st century we have two broad and entangled ways of understanding what work is. Firstly, to put none too fine a point on it, work … Continue reading A Working Definition of Work
...you probably shouldn't do it in public (with apologies to Bismarck) When I started this research project, I made a deliberate decision to blog the whole thing. I’m six weeks in, and I thought it might be a good moment to reflect on what I’m learning. This project is the first one of any size … Continue reading Research is like Making Sausages…
Last week I wrote about the idea that work is always political. It places (or secures) us in relationships of inequality, and try as we might to place boundaries around it in time (the ‘working week’) and in the law (through the law of contracts, as per Graeber’s argument), it often breaks those boundaries. The … Continue reading Public Sphere, Private Sector
In the second year of my PhD one of the reviewers at my annual review queried the metastasizing scope of my thesis. As it started to slip from a transnational history of Australian protest into a sort of weird agglomeration of case studies touching on everything from 19th Century vaccinations in Britain to the Boer … Continue reading Is a History of Work a History of Everything?
I’ve moved on to the ‘Work’ chapter of Arendt’s Human Condition. It wasn’t as full on as I’d expected; because Labour/Work is a dichotomy, much of the meaning of Work was contained in the Labour chapter. This week I really just want to focus in on just a couple of key insights I’ve gleaned from … Continue reading Digesting Arendt’s ideas on Work