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 want to pick up where last week’s post left off, because there were a few more titbits from Birth of Biopolitics that will have bearing on what I’m trying to do. After he makes the claim that Marx’s theory of labour power rendered the worker inert, Foucault moves on to talk about the idea … Continue reading Foucault, Arendt, Human Capital, and Consumption.
I know it's been a while between updates. I've been struggling at work, and haven't had a whole lot of energy for writing. I'm also starting to firm up a plan for my first chapter, so I'm not sure how often I'll update here. After all, I want to write the chapters, not just the … Continue reading Gender and Power at Work
My boss recently told me that in order to do my job I’d need to take work home with me. This is not the first time this has happened, but this time was different. I work in sales, and what my boss was trying to tell me was that to generate leads I needed to … Continue reading Discipline and Governance in the Neoliberal Workplace
For my first post of 2019, I want to expand on something I noticed back in October, namely, that a number of the male writers I've been reading (and one female writer in particular) make passing but significant mention of the space race when they write about work. Given that this year marks the 50th … Continue reading The Lost Future of the Final Frontier
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?
One of the perils of this sort of blogging is that you don't ever really get to go back and add stuff in, that's less blogging and more drafting, and is as such reserved for the writing process proper. Nevertheless, these two tidbits add some depth to prevous posts. For my post on Graeber's Bullshit … Continue reading Two Codas
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