By Lynne Pettinger
It’s no secret that the nature of work itself has changed significantly in recent years. What’s Wrong with Work? looks at three increasingly important types of labor—ranging from IT jobs to environmental work to the rise of the gig economy—with a particular focus on issues of gender, race, and class. Pettinger examines what these jobs mean within current neoliberal frameworks and theorizes their futures in a world of rising automation and potential ecological catastrophe. Accessible and engaging, What’s Wrong with Work? ultimately argues for our collective responsibility to address and rectify unfair and inhumane working conditions.
About Lynne Pettinger
Lynne Pettinger is associate professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Her research explores the intersections of work and markets, using the insights of economic sociology to make sense of forms of work. It explores how market cultures are generated, and how ethics, aesthetics and emotions are worked on in global consumer capitalism. She has developed these themes in projects on sales work, sex work and music work
"Though provocatively entitled, What’s Wrong with Work?, in this book, Pettinger purposely evades a simplistic answer. Instead, she deepens the understanding of work by asking three interrelated questions: How is work organized? How are different kinds of work interconnected? What does work do? The answers to these questions permit her to bring visibility to the various forms of work hidden from the general understanding (and study) of work. Through that process, she demonstrates how generally recognized forms of work (i.e. paid work) depend on other forms unrecognized of work (i.e. service work and care work) and points to the gendering and racialization of this deletion. Two ‘twin blocks’ structure the argument. The ﬁrst is the concept of capitalocentrism, or the idea that ‘The Economy’ is a social construct on which capitalism depends, rather than the natural and inevitable order on which the organization of life depends. [...] How to shape these new potentials is informed by the second twin block, that of ethics. Rejecting the abstract, universally acknowledged ethics of justice, Pettinger prefers the concept of care ethics. [...] The book itself is written in two parts. Part I provides a summary overview of work from the historical to the contemporary. Part II provides a more in-depth focus on the contemporary. [...] What’s Wrong with Work? provides a good summary of current research on work. Absent of jargon and with an inviting writing style, the book is best suited for people who are looking for an introductory overview on work practices in a wide variety of contexts. Students wishing to develop their understanding of how research on work marginalizes forms of hidden labour will ﬁnd this a helpful guide. It is important to note that readers anxious for a quick answer to Pettinger’s provocatively entitled book
will not ﬁnd it here."
- Podcast with Pettinger about the book at Futures of Work, 3 February 2020
- Podcast with Pettinger about the book at New Books Network, 31 October 2019
Table of Contents of What's Wrong with Work
- Framing the Present: Capitalism, Work and Crisis
- Work as Production
- Deleted Labour and Hidden Work
- How Does a Body Work?
- Work Now
- Informal Work and Everyday Life
- Green Work
- Biting Back