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Knowledge

Knowledge

THE DYNAMICS OF VIRTUAL WORK: THE TRANSFORMATION OF LABOUR IN A DIGITAL GLOBAL ECONOMY

Sponsored by COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology), Work Organisation Labour and Globalisation, Competition and Change and Triple C

To be held at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, September 3-5, 2014

Globalisation and technological change have transformed where people work, when and how. Digitisation of information has altered labour processes out of all recognition whilst telecommunications have enabled jobs to be relocated globally. But ICTs have also enabled the creation of entirely new types of ‘digital’ or ‘virtual’ labour, both paid and unpaid,  shifting the borderline between ‘play’ and ‘work’ and creating new types of unpaid labour connected with the consumption and co-creation of goods and services.  The implications of this are far-reaching, both for policy and for scholarship. The dynamics of these changes cannot be captured adequately within the framework of any single academic discipline. On the contrary, they can only be understood in the light of a combination of insights from fields including political economy, the sociology of work, organisational theory, economic geography, development studies, industrial relations, comparative social policy, communications studies, technology policy and gender studies

COST Action IS1202 brings together an international network of leading experts from 29 European Countries with researchers from other parts of the world to develop a multi-faceted approach to understanding these phenomena. This international conference will open up an interactive dialogue between scholars both inside and outside the network.

Papers drawing on theoretical, methodological or empirical research are welcomed on the following topics:

The new international division of labour
Restructuring of value chains – theoretical perspectives
Relocation or Global sourcing? New patterns of spatial mobility
Does ‘place’ still matter, and why?
Interactions between the gender division of labour and the spatial division of labour.
Changes in skills and occupational identities in the digital economy
The creation of new occupational identities and the disintegration of old ones
Reskilling or deskilling? New forms of Taylorisation or new opportunities for creativity?
Changing patterns of working time, work-life balance and gender division of labour
New forms of organisation inside and outside the workplace
Value creation in the Internet Age
The monetisation of the Internet – theoretical and methodological challenges
Commodification and value creation in online activities
‘Prosumption’, ‘co-creation’ and ‘playbour’: conceptualising the shifts between labour, consumption and leisure activities
Virtual work and immaterial production (including crowdsourcing, goldfarming and other forms of online work)
Policy implications of virtual work
Implications of virtual work for employment in creative industries
User-generated content – threat or opportunity for employment?
Implications of virtual work for work-life balance and equality
Regulation of work and industrial relations in virtual work environments (the global context)
Implications of virtual work for work-life balance and equality
Effects of virtual work on occupational profiles, skills and HR practices

The conference will be organised in four streams, with plenary sessions on each day.

All submissions will be subject to peer review.
Deadline for submission of extended abstracts: January 31st, 2014
Confirmation of acceptance: April 30th, 2014
Some scholarships may be available for attendees from Developing Countries.

The Dynamics of Virtual Work: http://dynamicsofvirtualwork.com/

The Conference website and Call for Papers: http://dynamicsofvirtualwork.com/call-for-papers/

 

First published in http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/virtual-work-conference-registrati200bon-now-open

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Children at Work

GLOBAL STUDIES OF CHILDHOOD – VOLUME 1 NUMBER 1 (2011)

Now available at: http://www.wwwords.co.uk/GSCH/content/pdfs/1/issue1_1.asp

GLOBAL STUDIES OF CHILDHOOD
Volume 1 Number 1 2011         ISSN 1463-9491
Nicola Yelland & Sue Saltmarsh. Editorial

Alan Prout. Taking a Step away from Modernity: reconsidering the new sociology of childhood

Karen Wells. The Politics of Life: governing childhood

Sue Saltmarsh. Bus Ride to the Future: cultural imaginaries of Australian childhood in the education landscape

Hillevi Lenz Taguchi. Investigating Learning, Participation and Becoming in Early Childhood Practices with a Relational Materialist Approach

Claudia Mitchell. What’s Participation Got to Do with It? Visual Methodologies in ‘Girl-Method’ to Address Gender-Based Violence in the Time of AIDS

Mark Vicars. Artful Practices: identities at work in play

COLLOQUIA

Annie Hau-nung Chan. A Culture of Protection: the establishment of a sex offenders’ register in Hong Kong

Rajani M. Konantambigi. Concerns of Childhood in India

BOOK REVIEW

Governing Childhood into the 21st Century: biopolitical technologies of childhood management and education (Majia Holmer Nadesan), reviewed by Kerry Moakes

Access to the full texts of current articles is restricted to those who have a Personal subscription, or those whose institution has a Library subscription. However, all articles become free-to-view 18 months after publication.

PERSONAL SUBSCRIPTION. Subscription to the 2011 issues is available to private individuals at a cost of US$50.00. If you wish to subscribe immediately you may do so online at:  www.wwwords.co.uk/subscribeGSCH.asp

LIBRARY SUBSCRIPTION (institution-wide access). If you are working within an institution that maintains a Library, please urge them to take out a subscription so that we can provide access throughout your institution; details of subscription rates and access control arrangements for libraries can be found at www.symposium-journals.co.uk/prices.html

For all editorial matters, including articles offered for publication, please contact the Editors at GSCH@ied.edu.hk

In the event of problems concerning a subscription, or difficulty in gaining access to the journal articles on the website, please email the publishers at support@symposium-journals.co.uk

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DeadwingWORK, PLAY & BOREDOM

Call for Papers on ‘Work, Play & Boredom’ for an ephemera Conference at University of St. Andrews, 5-7 May 2010. Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2010.

In recent years, play has become an abiding concern in the popular business literature and a crucial aspect of organizational culture. While managerial interest in play has certainly been with us for some time, there is a sense that organizations are becoming ever-more receptive to incorporating fun and frivolity into everyday working life. Team-building exercises, simulation games, puzzle-solving activities, office parties, themed dress-down days, and colourful, aesthetically-stimulating workplaces are notable examples of this trend. Through play, employees are encouraged to express themselves and their capabilities, thus enhancing job satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. Play also serves to unleash an untapped creative potential in management thinking that will supposedly result in innovative product design, imaginative marketing strategies and, ultimately, superior organizational performance. Play, it seems, is a very serious business indeed.

But this has not always been the case. Until very recently, play was seen as the antithesis of work. Classical industrial theory, for examples, hinges on a fundamental distinction between waged labour and recreation. Play at work is thought to pose a threat not only to labour discipline, but also to the very basis of the wage bargain: in exchange for a day’s pay, workers are expected to leave their pleasures at home. Given this context, we can well understand Adorno’s (1978: 228) comment that the purposeless play of children – completely detached from selling one’s labour to earn a living – unconsciously rehearses the ‘right life’. But play no longer holds the promise of life after capitalism, as it once did for Adorno; today, the ‘unreality of games’ is fully incorporated within the reality of  
organizations. When employees are urged to reach out to their ‘inner child’ (Miller, 1997: 255), it becomes clear that the traditional boundary between work and play is in the process of being demolished.

A certain utopianism underpins contemporary debates about play at work, evoking the pre-Lapsarian ideal of a happy life without hard work. In this respect, organizations seem to have taken notice of Burke’s (1971: 47) compelling vision of paradise: ‘My formula for utopia is simple: it is a community in which everyone plays at work and works at play. Anything less would fail to satisfy me for long’. But such idealism is not necessarily desirable. For while play promises to relieve the monotony and boredom of work, it is intimately connected to new forms of management control: it is part of the panoply of techniques that seek to align the personal desires of workers with bottom-line corporate objectives. We should not be surprised, then, when an overbearing emphasis on fun in the workplace leads to cynicism, alienation, and resentment from employees (Fleming, 2005).

While play at work has been extensively discussed in the popular and academic literature, the role of boredom in organisations has been somewhat neglected. It seems that boredom is destined to share the fate of other ‘negative emotions’, such as anger and contempt, which have generally been silenced in organization studies (Pelzer 2005). But boredom remains an important part of organisational life. As Walter Benjamin (1999: 105) observes, ‘we are bored when we don’t know what we are waiting for’. Boredom thus contains a sense of anticipation, even promise: ‘Boredom is the threshold to great deeds’ (ibid.). Since capitalism is preoccupied with fun and games, perhaps it is boredom rather than play that now serves unconsciously to rehearse the ‘right life’ in contemporary times.

This ephemera conference and special issue ask its participants to explore the interrelated themes of work, play, and boredom alongside an exploration of the cultural and political context out of which they have emerged.

Possible topics include:
–    The politics of play
–    Play and reality
–    Anthropology of play
–    Play and utopia
–    The boredom of play
–    Boredom as resistance
–    Identity and authenticity when played
–    The blurring of work and play
–    Playfulness at work
–    Creativity and play
–    Experience economy
–    Management games
–    Cultures of fun
–    Play and pedagogy
–    Seriousness and indifference
–    Foolishness and fooling around
–    Tedium and repetition
–    Humour, jokes, and cynicism
–    Childishness and management
–    Invention and innovation through play
–    Organizing spontaneity

The best papers of the conference will be published in a special issue of ephemera.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Professor Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen, Professor at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Author of many books, including his recent Power at Play: The Relationship between Play, Work and Governance (2009, Palgrave Macmillan).

Professor René ten Bos, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His many books include Fashion and Utopia in Management Thinking (John Benjamins, 2000).

Dates and Location:

5-7 May 2010 at School of Management, University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK.

Deadline, Conference Website, and Further Information:

The deadline for abstracts is 31 January 2010. The abstracts should be submitted as a Word document to Martyna Sliwa at martyna.sliwa@newcastle.ac.uk  The conference fee has not been set yet, as it is dependent on the number of participants, but will be kept to a minimum. PhD candidates pay a reduced fee.

Further information about the conference can be found on the conference website: http://www.ephemeraweb.org/conference With queries, you can also contact one of the conference organizers: Bent Meier Sørensen (bem.lpf@cbs.dk), Lena Olaison (lo.lpf@cbs.dk), Martyna Sliwa (martyna.sliwa@ncl.ac.uk), Nick Butler (nick.butler@st-andrews.ac.uk), Stephen Dunne (s.dunne@le.ac.uk), Sverre Spoelstra (sverre.spoelstra@fek.lu.se).

References:

Adorno, T. (1978) Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life. London and New York: Verso.
Benjamin, W. (1999) The Arcades Project. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press.
Burke, R. (1971) ‘“Work” and “play”’, Ethics, 82(1): 33-47.
Fleming, P. (2005) ‘Workers’ playtime? Boundaries and cynicism in a “culture of fun” programme’, Journal of Applied Behavioural Science, 41(3): 285-303.
Miller, J. (1997) ‘All work and no play may be harming your business’, Management Development Review, 10(6/7): 254-255.
Pelzer, P. (2005) ‘Contempt and organization: Present in practice – Ignored by research?’ Organization Studies, 26(8): 1217-1227.

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Deadwing

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