CFP: Rethinking Labour: Labour, Affect and Material Culture

From H-Material Culture:


Rethinking Labour: Labour, Affect and Material Culture
April 19th and 20th, 2008
Clinton Institute of American Studies, University College Dublin

Plenary speaker: Professor Andrew Ross, Chair, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and Professor of American Studies, New York University

What happens if affect and material culture become central constructs in thinking about labour and the workplace?

Recent studies have placed increased emphasis on the affective dimensions of labour. Social scientists, social theorists and historians have explored the ways in which affect shapes social relations, representation and identity in the labour process. At the same time material culture has received renewed attention as an important factor in shaping experience and behavior at work. The purpose of this conference is to explore the historical and contemporary implications of the labour/affect/material culture nexus and to generate discussion of what the “affective turn” holds for our understanding of labour. How are particular forms of affect produced and managed in the factory, the office and service work locations? How does material culture shape habits, dispositions and affective processes in the workplace? How does affect shape identity, performance and authority in particular kinds of work? And how might an analysis of the relationships between affect and material culture inform labour history, the sociology of work, literary studies, aesthetics, social theory, public history and other fields that examine labour?

We invite papers that address any aspect of the historical and contemporary relationship between labour, affect and material culture but especially welcome work that crosses disciplinary borders. Papers are invited on, but are certainly not limited to, the following subjects and areas:

Structures of feeling
Workplace community
Ethics, conduct and performance
Visual culture and visuality
Authority and legitimacy
Race and ethnicity
Literature and literacy
Gender and Sexuality
Nation/alism & Transnationalism
Identity production
Policy and economics

Please e-mail abstracts (200-300 words) for 20-minute papers to by January 31st. We also invite abstracts for panels of 3-4 presenters. Applicants will be notified by February 15th. In the e-mail, please include the following information:

Presenter(s) name(s)
Title of paper(s)
Institutional affiliation(s)
Contact information

Questions or further information: David Gray, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4:

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