Although I haven’t updated the blog in nearly a year, I have not been idle. The responses to COVID-19 have caused substantial changes to my work life, as they have for so many others. I am one of the lucky ones with stable employment, but the pandemic has redistributed work in strange ways, taking it … Continue reading Encountering Medieval History
Both ‘work’ and ‘job’ are key words today. Neither had its prominence three hundred years ago. Both are still untranslatable from European languages into many others. Most languages never have one single word to designate all activities that are considered useful. Some languages happen to have a word for activities demanding pay. This word usually … Continue reading Words matter
I was only a few pages into Max Weber’s influential 1930 work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, when I came across this sentence: “The modern rational organisation of the capitalistic enterprise would not have been possible without two other important factors in its development: the separation of business from the household, which … Continue reading Is it Bedrock All the Way Down?
My alarm used to wake me up. For some reason of late I haven’t needed it. Every morning I am drawn from slumber well ahead of when I’d like to be by the fact I need to be at work. Every morning, despite the fact I don’t work for two days out of seven. I … Continue reading Households of One: Shadow Work in the Epoch of Self-Management
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
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?