Introduction: The emotional truth
To reveal the eco-system of feeling that produces the contemporary organisational paradox — where divergence and creativity are baked-into products while their premise often denied in organisational design — this note applies a Spinozian framework of affect. Here, affects are the, often unconscious, feelings that stick during encounters between bodies and other bodies and objects, informing the direction one moves in thereafter, and in their broadest sense represent ‘a sense of push in the world’ (Thrift, 2004: 64; Spinoza, 1996).
Revisiting precarity, with care: Productive and reproductive labour in the era of flexible capitalism
The concept of precarity – a term describing the flexible and uncertain working and living conditions in the contemporary world – is often presented in opposition to the idea of stability. On the one pole stands the idea of a permanent job or career: a secure and stable life-long chain of economic pursuits and social relations that promise steady upward mobility across generations (Sennett, 1998: 9). On the other pole remains the hyper-flexible contractual labour and displaced life advanced by new forms of managerial capitalism.
There has been much enthusiasm associated with the ‘Make in India’ (MiI) program that was launched in September 2014 (Kala, 2015; Khedekar, 2014). The program targets 25 core sectors to make India a manufacturing powerhouse. In a country that did not develop a robust manufacturing base post-independence, (Roy, 2012; Sanders, 1977), the MiI wants to make a significant contribution in that direction. Growth in manufacturing is expected to garner revenue and create employment opportunities for a large section of the population.
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.
Stevphen Shukaitis: Currently I’m co-editing an issue of the journal ephemera: theory & politics in organization. It comes out of management and organisation studies, but it’s a more critical theory orientated journal drawing from Marxism, queer studies, sociology and the arts. It is published open source, so its readership is much broader than most journals.
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 and for large-scale distribution companies such as TNT Global Express and SDA Express Courier.
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.
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. 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.
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.