Archive for publications, September 2011

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[ecrea] Fwd: New book: Work's Intimacy

Thu Sep 22 06:47:39 GMT 2011

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This book provides a long-overdue account of online technology and its
impact on the work and lifestyles of professional employees. It moves
between the offices and homes of workers in the new "knowledge" economy to
provide intimate insight into the personal, family, and wider social
tensions emerging in today¹s rapidly changing work environment.

Drawing on her extensive research, Gregg shows that new media technologies
encourage and exacerbate an older tendency among salaried professionals to
put work at the heart of daily concerns, often at the expense of other
sources of intimacy and fulfillment. New media technologies - from mobile
phones to laptops and tablet computers - have been marketed as devices that
give us the freedom to work where we want, when we want, but little
attention has been paid to the consequences of this shift, which has seen
work move out of the office and into cafés, trains, living rooms, dining
rooms, and bedrooms. This professional "presence bleed" leads to work
concerns impinging on the personal lives of employees in new and unforseen

This groundbreaking book explores how aspiring and established professionals
each try to cope with the unprecedented intimacy of technologically-mediated
work, and how its seductions seem poised to triumph over the few remaining
relationships that may stand in its way.


"Is your working life afflicted by an increasing taskload, the 'coercive
dimensions' of teamwork, longer hours, job insecurity and the intrusion of
labour into personal life? Then Gregg's brilliant book, based on
anthropological research in Brisbane but of global significance, will show
you that you are not alone. Writing of organisations that continue to demand
unidirectional 'loyalty' from their workers, and of a woman whose office
contacted her on every single day of her maternity leave, Gregg conveys a
coolly controlled anger while coining powerful descriptions such as
'function creep' and 'binge work'. Her interviewees, baffled but trying,
elicit our empathy, even those who have internalised the brutalist jargon of
the modern office. If I ever use 'progress' or 'action' as a transitive
verb, please shoot me."

Steven Poole, The Guardian

"Author Melissa Gregg has put flesh on the bones of what many suspected.
Under the pretence of giving us the freedom to work at our own pace and
wherever we choose, mobile phones, laptops and 'tabley' computers have
shackled us to our bosses' will in a way that nothing has done since the

Irish Times

"An important book that will transform the way we think about both work and
intimacy.  Rich, moving, and scholarly, Work's Intimacy looks set to become
a new classic in the fields of cultural studies, gender studies and the
sociology of labour."

Rosalind Gill, King's College London

"Gregg's remarkable analysis of the dispersed workplace could not be more
relevant. It is a precious gift to scholars of modern work, and it will also
be invaluable to anyone struggling to meet too many deadlines and balance
too many obligations in pursuit of a livelihood today."

Andrew Ross, author of Nice Work If You Can Get It

"Based on a rich body of empirical research, Work's Intimacy provides us
with a troubling, insightful and timely analysis of the partnership between
online technologies and the changing mythologies of work - and its impact on
our everyday lives. Melissa Gregg has written an important book, carefully
unpicking so much of what we have come to take for granted in our experience
of the ever-expanding boundaries of the working life."

Graeme Turner, The University of Queensland

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