CALL FOR PAPERS
Beyond the Cubicle: Insecurity Culture and the Flexible Self
Edited by Allison Pugh, University of Virginia
This edited volume, under contract with Oxford University Press, will bring together original chapters from invited and selected scholars whose research attends to the ways in which contemporary trends in organizing work affect the self, intimacy, friendships and/or community.
Large-scale transitions have taken place in the nature of work over the past century, from mass-production operations and rewards for loyalty to an emphasis on adaptability, networks and flexibility on the part of firms and employees. While some scholars disagree about the extent and trajectory of actual job insecurity today – most scholars agree that perceived job insecurity is very high. Accompanying these social transformations has been powerful cultural change, as people seek cultural codes that enable them to make sense of, and to navigate, the new world of privatized risk and attenuated connections. The new economics of risk and insecurity are thus changing the social landscape for the self and for our connections to others in important ways, yet existing scholarship has not fully considered the larger impact of these broad social trends. This volume will help to coalesce a nascent field, one that focuses on the larger, non-work impacts of contemporary economic trends.
Key questions with which this volume will engage include:
- What are the myriad ways in which the new ways of working – and its many iterations – shape the self, as well as the relationships of which that self is capable (or even interested)? How do these broader impacts vary by social categories such as race, class, gender, sexuality or immigration?
- How does the cultural ascendance of “flexibility” affect the experience of need or vulnerability, the provision of carework, or the promise of commitment or loyalty? How is our knowledge and theory-building in this area shaped by nostalgia and myth-making, by gendered ambivalence, or other influences?
- How do we gather evidence about the larger impacts of work, on the self and others? How do we measure such broad concepts with varied meanings as insecurity or risk? What sort of methods enable us to bridge narrow specializations and scholarly subfields that might inhibit cross-cutting research and theory?
- How does our knowledge about the broader impacts of the “flexible turn” at work expand when we de-center the global north, or as RW Connell calls it, “the metropole”? How might we trace the genealogies of “flexibility,” “adaptability,” “resilience” or “commitment”?
CALL FOR CHAPTERS
Submissions are welcomed that are in dialogue with the aims of the collection and the key questions above. While most of the invited scholars are influential sociologists already working in this area, we welcome contributions from critical social psychologists, anthropologists, historians, cultural studies scholars and social scientists who are engaged with empirical or theoretical projects on the broader impacts of the new ways of working.
An abstract of 500 words, or about two pages, and a short biography of no more than 50 words should be emailed to: Allison Pugh (firstname.lastname@example.org) by July 30, 2012. Final decisions on the selection of abstracts will issued Aug 30, 2012. Full chapters will be approximately 20 pages in length, or 8,000 words, and due January 1, 2013. Tentative publication date winter 2014.