Tag: employment

From The Refusal of Work, by David Frayne, pg 199: What do you do? After ‘What is your name?’ and possibly ‘Where are you from?’ this is one of the first questions that strangers usually pose to one another, with convention dictating that this question is almost always an enquiry into our employment situation. ‘What […]

I’m enjoying The Refusal of Work by David Frayne at the moment. He asks some fundamental questions about the meaning of work in contemporary society. From pg 12: What is so great about work that sees society constantly trying to create more of it? Why, at the pinnacle of society’s productive development, is there still thought […]

A really fascinating read on Harvard Business Review: We found that through Uber’s app design and deployment, the company produces what many reasonable observers would define as a managed labor force. Drivers have the freedom to log in or log out of work at will, but once they’re online, their activities on the platform are […]

I gave a lecture earlier this week about the cultural politics of automation and how this might shape the emergence of mass automation as a primarily structural reality.  I wish I’d seen this Pew poll when I was preparing the lecture: This sense of the inexorability of mass automation is deeply worrying. It’s possible that people might begin to see […]

The rise of the robots is a recurrent theme of popular culture. Robots are often seen as a threat, heralding the prospect of human beings being replaced by their creations, perhaps to the extent of being deemed useless by them and attacked. Underlying this fear is the reality of automation: technology being more adept at particular tasks […]

Much deserved Guardian coverage of the weird phenomenon that is the internet cat video festival. What grips me about things like this is not the fact that people are trying to make money from their cats, but rather that many others people are trying and failing to make money from their cats. Not unlike the aspiring professional […]

This extremely useful little book introduced me to this consideration recently. It’s very important to my developing argument about the intensification of work: the escalation of demands placed upon workers, their mediation through the internal conversations of individual workers and its implications for how they exercise their reflexivity in the workplace. Here’s the data I’ve just been […]

A really interesting Pew study on what seems likely to become a growing source of digital inequality. The Internet is becoming more important than ever to much job searching: A majority of U.S. adults (54%) have gone online to look for job information, 45% have applied for a job online, and job-seeking Americans are just […]

This is an interesting development: there’s clearly an interest served by the announcement but the potential success of this positioning could prove influential if legal challenges to contract labour gain some traction: Shift, an on-demand startup that helps people buy and sell cars, is looking to make employees out of its contract-based labor force. Almost […]

Do you have people working for you? How do you conceive of the relationship? Are they junior colleagues for whom you provide steering in an otherwise basically collective project? Or are they subordinates for whom you provide direction and oversight as a line manager? How aware are you of their pay and conditions? How aware […]

Earlier today I started reading Blacklisted, an account of the extensive blacklisting in the construction industry that was exposed by an investigation by the Information Commissioner. For those unfamiliar with the case: In 2009, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) exposed details of a large-scale surveillance operation run by a company called The Consulting Association.  This […]

We’ve recently seen an emerging discourse of the ‘second machine age’ considering the potential implications of advances in robots and computational technologies for employment. In a recent London Review of Books essay, John Lanchester offers an insightful overview of this issue: What if that’s where we are, and – to use the shorthand phrase relished […]

This powerful essay by Maria Warner in the LRB echoes what I was trying to say yesterday about the perils of passion: A university is a place where ideas are meant to be freely explored, where independence of thought and the Western ideals of democratic liberty are enshrined. Yet at the same time as we congratulate […]