Why does work matter? As changes occur in how work is organised across the globe, What’s wrong with work shows that how workers are treated has wide implications beyond the lives of workers themselves.
Recognising gender, race, class and global differences, the book looks at three kinds of increasingly important work – green work, IT work and the ‘gig’ economy - within the context of the neoliberal society, the promises of technologisation and anticipated environmental catastrophe. It considers the ways formal work is often dependent on informal work, especially domestic work and care work.
Accessible and engaging, it concludes by considering political and ethical questions in what might make work better, arguing that there is a collective responsibility to address bad work.
"In asking us to go beyond the autonomous, independent, rational, self-interested worker, Pettinger furnishes an astounding insight: think of work as care. In the end, work is nothing but a caring and relational engagement with the human and nonhuman world. Isn’t individual survival meaningless without collective survival?" A. Aneesh, author of Neutral Accent: How Language, Life and Labor Become Global
"The world of work is changing rapidly, but established debates around the meaning, purpose and experience of work are not going away, while new questions are stimulated by the developments in green work, AI and robotics that are analysed here by Pettinger. This innovative book provides valuable groundings for modules dealing critically with everyday working lives, globalisation, culture and consumption." Tracey Warren, University of Nottingham
"Pettinger combines a humanistic concern for workers with an evidence-based analysis of contemporary economic realities to show us a glimpse of work beyond capitalism. Essential reading for students of sociology and business alike.” Christopher Land, Anglia Ruskin University’
"A smart, compelling, and thoughtful exploration of what work is (and what the definition of “work” should include) and how it might be made more ethical." Erin Hatton, University at Buffalo
"An important, interesting and timely book, that critically examines current transformations in work and employment. ..a useful contribution, particularly around emerging forms of green work, IT work and the ‘gig’ economy." Andrew Smith, University of Bradford School of Management
Dr Lynne Pettinger is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, where she teaches modules that explore work in contemporary capitalism. She worked previously at University of Essex and City University. She has researched and written extensively about many kinds of work.
Framing the present: Capitalism, work and crisis
Work as production
Deleted labour and hidden work
How does a body work?
Informal work and everyday life