Centre for Work, Organization and Society seminars in November

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Expand view Topic review: Centre for Work, Organization and Society seminars in November

Centre for Work, Organization and Society seminars in November

by Melissa » Thu Nov 02, 2023 4:04 pm

You are warmly invited to join the Centre for Work, Organizations and Society for two online seminars in November (for links, please see below). And please feel free to share details with anyone you think might be interested in coming along.

(Dis)Organizing Christmas – or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christmas

Philip Hancock, University of Essex
Wednesday 1st November 2023, 12-1pm (UK)

This may seem a little early but as Philip will no doubt with remind us in this talk,for those who organize Christmas the festive season is already well underway …

In this seminar, Philip will consider the extent to which it has been possible to write his recently published book, Organizing Christmas while maintaining some semblance of enthusiasm for it. For while he never set out to produce a book of Adornoesque melancholy about damaged festive lives, or Foucauldian paranoias regarding the seasonally disciplined subject, throughout the years in which he was working on the book, it was hard to escape the fact that Christmas often seems to be a cruel microcosm of the violence and delusions of modern life. Nonetheless, Philip somehow managed to finish, with a call to hope and to embrace the Christmas spirit as a potentially utopian one.

Beginning with a brief overview of the text itself and the damage that Christmas causes,this talk then turns to the bases upon which Philip built a more optimistic account of the season. Drawing on the early writings of Ernst Bloch and inspired by the empirical accounts of those whose work organizes Christmas, he concludes with the possibility that Christmas, or whatever mid-winter festival one chooses, may indeed represent one of the few remaining glimpses we have into a world organised both for and by human connection and the possibility of a better way of living together.


Philip Hancock is a Professor of Work and Organization at the University of Essex. His work on organizational aesthetics, spatiality, and the challenges of working at Christmas has been widely published in international journals and edited collections. Philip is a long-standing member of the Work, Employment and Society editorial team. He is currently working on a collaborative project with Arts Council England on freelance workers in the creative and cultural sector with other members of the CWOS Future of Creative Work group. He is also working on a co-authored book on precarity amongst freelance/self-employed performers. His book, Organizing Christmas was published by Routledge in August 2023.

Working through (mis)recognition: Understanding vulnerability as ambivalence in precarious worker subjectivity

Francisco Valenzuela, University of Chile and Steffen Böhm, University of Exeter
Wednesday 15th November 2023, 12-1pm (UK)

Most workers around the world are part of the precariat, characterized by non-permanent,informal, short-term, low-pay, low-skill, and insecure jobs. While there have been many socio-economic critiques of the negative impacts of precarity on workers, relevant literature has increasingly asked how precarious workers actually live their lives and how their subjectivities are produced on a daily basis. Drawing on their recently published work with Constantine Manolchev (University of Exeter) and Celal Cahit Agar (University of St Andrews), Francisco and Steffen will examine how a psychosocial account of the ambivalent experiences of precarious workers might contribute to this literature.

They will contend that the interplay of recognition and misrecognition plays a crucial role,as the vulnerable, working subject becomes entangled in a complex web of recognizability.

Insights from 104 in-depth interviews will be drawn on to provide a Lacanian analysis of how precarious workers develop unconscious attachments to neoliberal values that are central to the logic of precarity, showing how understanding this ambivalence helps us to develop a more nuanced view of an ethics of precarious workers’ vulnerability.


Francisco Valenzuela’s research interests revolve around the gendered embodiment of affect, identity, and ideology in processes of organization and governance-making. He is currently studying the ethical subjectivation of actors at neonatal care units in public hospitals, as well as stakeholder embodiments in and around borough-level community security initiatives. Francisco’s work has been published in international journals and he is currently serving as an Associate Editor of Gender, Work & Organization.

Steffen Böhm’s work focuses on political economy and ecology perspectives of contemporary social and ecological crises. This includes psychosocial dimensions of work, organization, and environmental activism. He has published seven books; his latest (together with Annika Skoglund) is entitled Climate Activism (Cambridge). He is editor of the Environment Section of the Journal of Business Ethics and is a member of the editorial collective of the open access publisher Mayfly Books.