The Fall of the ‘Household’

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’

A Working Definition of Work

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

Research is like Making Sausages… 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…

Is a History of Work a History of Everything?

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?

Bullshit Jobs and the Labourisation of Work

Three days ago I changed my job title on LinkedIn. The title change was part of a broader restructure at work, and was accompanied by a new role description which was really just a superficial tweak to the old one attached to a larger portfolio of accounts. There was no real increase in responsibility, and … Continue reading Bullshit Jobs and the Labourisation of Work

Hannah Arendt, Labour, and the Maintenance of the Self

Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition is a fecund text. What it lacks in internal consistency and clarity of citation it makes up for by providing an easily problematised taxonomy of human activity and the realms in which it takes place. It’s impossible to read it without thinking; even the things it ‘gets wrong’ provides the … Continue reading Hannah Arendt, Labour, and the Maintenance of the Self