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 The Book I’m Currently Writing, Take 3
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
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
...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?
Two years ago, I left my academic career and got a ‘real job’. That transition has been difficult in a number of ways. Increasingly, the shift from a career I deeply loved and identified strongly with to one that I'm grateful to have but that feels like work has left me with one insistent question. Why … Continue reading An Introduction of Sorts