labour

Consumption of work and the work of consumption

Today, work and consumption are notably blurred. Consumption matters are found to make inroads into the realm of work, while consumption gains traction in the domain of production. This special issue of ephemera gets to the heart of this phenomenon. Covering a range of themes – genetic testing, self-quantification, migration, popular media and modern workplaces – the contributions to this issue call attention to the ethico-politics of productive and consumptive aspects of contemporary life.

Labour, religion and game: Or, why is art relevant for social science?

If one would like to trace back to the beginnings of social sciences he or she should search for the objects or phenomena which first allowed these disciplines to anchor their initial concepts and guide their empirical research. For such phenomena serve both as objects of inquiry in their own right and as openings to investigations reaching far beyond the initial domain. Such phenomena were (which is quite uncontroversial) the division of labour and religion.

Practicing militant inquiry: Composition, strike and betting in the logistics workers struggles in Italy

Rethinking the strike, bet on generalization. Here is what we learned from a cycle of struggles in the field of retail logistics in Italy, and specifically warehouse workers at cooperatives managing and organizing the sorting and transport of goods for major brands such as IKEA, the national Coop[1] and for large-scale distribution companies such as TNT Global Express and SDA Express Courier[2].

The politics of workers' inquiry

This special issue brings together a series of commentaries, intervention, and projects in various stages of completion, all centred on the theme of workers inquiry[1]. Workers’ inquiry is an approach to and practice of knowledge production that seeks to understand the changing composition of labour and its potential for revolutionary social transformation. It is the practice of turning the tools of the social sciences into weapons of class struggle.

The politics of workers' inquiry

This issue brings together a series of commentaries, interventions and projects centred on the theme of workers’ inquiry. Workers’ inquiry is a practice of knowledge production that seeks to understand the changing composition of labour and its potential for revolutionary social transformation. It is a practice of turning the tools of the social sciences into weapons of class struggle. It also seeks to map the continuing imposition of the class relation, not as a disinterested investigation, but rather to deepen and intensify social and political antagonisms.

submission deadline  
28 Feb 2015
call for papers pdf  


Issue Editors: Nick Butler, Helen Delaney and Martyna Śliwa

It is well known that the purpose of the contemporary university is being radically transformed by the encroachment of corporate imperatives into higher education (Beverungen, et al., 2008; Svensson, et al., 2010). This has inevitable consequences for managerial interventions, research audits and funding structures. But it also impacts on the working conditions of academic staff in university institutions in terms of teaching, research, administration and public engagement. Focusing on this level of analysis, the special issue seeks to explore questions about how the work of scholars is being shaped, managed and controlled under the burgeoning regime of ‘academic capitalism’ (Rhoades and Slaughter, 2004) and in turn to ask what might be done about it.

There is a case to be made that the modern university is founded on principles of rationalization and bureaucratization; there has always been a close... more

submission deadline  
30 Sep 2014
call for papers pdf  

Issue Editors: Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Rashné Limki and Bernadette Loacker

Work and consumption have always been intertwined, their interaction shaped by social and historical circumstances. The ‘consumer society’ (Baudrillard, 1998/1970) that we arguably live in is often associated with a fading interest in work. On this view, wage labour is seen simply as a way of funding consumption during leisure time (Berger, 1964; Gorz, 1985). However, the boundaries between consumption and work have become increasingly blurred. Consumption is no longer confined to leisure, having become central to the employment relationship (Korczynski, 2007; Dale, 2012), but also transcending it. At the same time, some consumption has become productive in the circuits of capital (Arvidsson, 2005). While both the themes of work and consumption have been discussed separately (including in ephemera, e.g. Beverungen et al., 2011; Dunne et al., 2013; Egan-Wyer et al., 2014), this special issue aims to bring them together by... more

Tales of ‘Much of a muchness’: Adventures in the land of social capital

Ben Fine’s argument in his second book on social capital, Theories of social capital, is straightforward: social capital is a non-sensical concept. With a nod to the Mad Hatter and his tea party in Lewis Carroll’s much-loved Alice in wonderland, Fine’s purpose in this book is to point out to us the circularities, tautologies and oxymorons of the exhaustingly vast academic and policy literature on social capital.

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