Freedom and work relate to each other in peculiar ways. Sometimes, they are considered opposites, since it may be only once we get rid of work or have the luxury of a life of leisure that we can be truly free. This was Marx’s view, for whom – at least most of the time – a clear incompatibility existed between the realm of freedom and the realm of labour.
The papers in this issue of ephemera have their origins in a conference, ‘Digital Labour: Workers, Authors, Citizens’, held at the University of Western Ontario on October 16-18, 2009. The conference was organized by the Digital Labour Group, an assembly of scholars from within the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS), a non-departmentalized unit that houses programs in Library and Information Science, Journalism, and Media Studies.
While self-management has emerged as a robust way of getting things done in present-day work life and organizations, it also presents itself as a conception of considerable multivalency and ambiguity. In a broad sense, self-management seems to require that employees think, feel and act in ways that contribute to the realization and improvement of the individual worker, but only insofar as they concomitantly anticipate and contribute to the various needs of the organization (Manz and Sims, 1989; Thomas, 2002; Costea et al, 2008).
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This open issue consists of a number of contributions, which at first glance do not seem to be linked by any particular theme. Examining the different approaches to theory &politics in organization that are taken by the eclectic collection of papers featured here, however, it appears that the theoretical notion of the affective emerges again and again, as central to the politics of organization. The notion of affect is as such nothing new to ephemera.