‘Work hard, play hard’: Fantasies of nihilism and hedonism between work and consumption


Vice is known for its raw, unsparingly honest editorial voice… Vice’s editors are either totally tuned-in geniuses or prankster revisionists. Or maybe both. (The Wall Street Journal)

The first-movers of culture have embraced a continuum that includes the hip, subversive aesthetic of Vice Magazine. (New York Times Magazine)

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.

Mobilities in contemporary worlds of work and organizing

In the globalised ‘network economy’ mobility has developed as an imperative as well as an attractive possibility. Drawing inspiration from the field of mobility studies, this special issue of ephemera discusses mobility as a complex modern phenomenon. It creates a space for investigating different forms and dimensions of mobility, such as physical, temporal, social, economic and symbolic. The issue seeks to problematise simplistic assessments of mobility, and moves the discussion beyond the either/or opposition of choice and necessity.

Anarchist economic practices in a ‘capitalist’ society: Some implications for organisation and the future of work

Political, economic and social institutions are crumbling; the social structure, having become uninhabitable, is hindering, even preventing the development of the seeds which are being propagated within its damaged walls and being brought forth around them.

The need for a new life becomes apparent. (Kropotkin, 2002b)

Alternative organizations in a global context: Tensions, challenges and potentialities

While cooperation exists since times immemorial, in its modern form it constitutes a 'product' of specific socio-economic and political conditions. Within this context, cooperatives and other alternative experiments have offered an opportunity to challenge existing capital-labour relations and inter-work relationships and rethink the way we relate everyday practices to political organization in general. This in turn implies an effort to reconceptualise the links between the economic and social field of action.

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


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