Shifting Categories of Work Unsettling the Ways We Think about Jobs, Labor, and Activities
What do human beings do when they work, how is work organized, and what are its multidimensional – economic, social, political, biographical, ecological – effects? We cannot answer these questions without drawing on the numerous categories that we use to describe work, such as "skilled" or "unskilled" work, "domestic work" or "wage labor," "gig work" or "platform work." Such categories are not merely theoretical labels as they also have practical effects. But where do these categories come from, what are their histories, how do they differ between countries, and how are they evolving? Shifting Categories of Work asks these questions, illuminating the many ways in which our societies categorize work. Written by sociologists, philosophers, historians and anthropologists as well as management and legal scholars, the contributions in this volume contrast different cultural practices and frameworks of categorizing work across different countries.
Organized around the three axes of (un)organized work, (in)visible work and (in)valuable work, this book shows how ways of categorizing work express, but also recreate, lines of privilege and disadvantage – challenging our preconceived notions of what work is and what it could be, as it invites us to rethink the categories we use for understanding the work we do, and hence, to some extent, ourselves.
Lisa Herzog and Bénédicte Zimmermann
Part 1: (Un)organized Work
1. Subordinate Work: How Does the Law Categorize Modern Labor Relationships?
2. Corporate Work: A Category That Has Lost Its Managerial Foundations?
3. Remote Work: From Employee Telework to Self-Employed Home-Based Work?
Frédérique Letourneux and Gabrielle Schütz
4. Platform Work: New Workers, New Rights?
Sophie Bernard and Josépha Dirringer
5. Teamwork: From Self-Managed to Lean and Agile Teams
Martin Krzywdzinski and Maximilian Greb
6. Democratized Work: Concepts and Practices
Roberto Frega and Martin Kuhlmann
Part 2: (In)visible Work
7. Free Versus Unfree Labor: Challenging Their Boundaries
Léa Renard and Theresa Wobbe
8. Informal Work: A Relational Category
Nicola Schalkowski and Marianne Braig
9. Migrants’ Work: An Anthropological Perspective From West Africa
10. Domestic Work: The Invention of a Gendered Relationship
11. Unpaid Work: Expansion and Mobilization of a Feminist Category
12. Emotional Labor: Concept and Practical Categorizations in Light of COVID Critical Care Nursing
Robert McMurray, Nicki Credland, Martyn Griffin, Peter Hamilton, Oonagh Harness and Kimberly Jamie
Part 3: (In)valuable Work
13. Dirty Work: Physical, Social and Moral Taint
Natalia Slutskaya and Annilee M. Game
14. Efficient Work: Exploring Algorithmic Approaches to Categorization
Sasha Disko, Bruce Kogut, Hanyu Li and Jennifer Zhang
15. Skilled and Unskilled Work: From Theoretical Concepts to Social Practices
Philipp Grollmann and Michael Tiemann
16. Entrepreneurship: Moral Categorizations Across Three Countries
Constance Perrin-Joly and Laure de Verdalle
17. Essential Work: A Category in the Making?
Lisa Herzog, Katrin Sold and Bénédicte Zimmermann
18. Sustainable Work: Foundations and Challenges of a Contested Category
"Because so much discussion of work and how it is changing across the world involves analysts and policy makers employing work categories to understand what is happening, this book offers a vital contribution to ongoing and emerging debates. Those wanting a critical perspective on the various fashionable discussions that abound in analysis of work and its future will find this volume of especially notable interest."
Tony Watson, Professor of Sociology, University of Nottingham
"The key question in this exciting volume is one that has become extra important during our post-pandemic times: How do we look at work, and what consequences does this view have – for the people who work, for the rest of us, for society? The answers to this question turn out to be both complex and surprising. Highly recommended."
Richard Swedberg, Professor of Sociology, Cornell University
"This book offers an original perspective on the contemporary transformations of work. It proposes ingeniously to start from the categories used by social actors to talk about work, to organize it, to regulate its forms (such as remote work, dirty work, emotional labor, platform work...). Through the 18 proposed entries, all of which are equally fascinating, a kaleidoscope of tensions and tendencies affecting our social world takes shape."
Eve Chiapello, Research Director at EHESS, Paris