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In this essay, we contend that new ways of working imply a crisis both of communities and politics in our societies. We introduce the concept of 'co-politicisation' to make sense of the potential highly transformative political power of managerial agency in society. In the context of ongoing work transformations, managerial agency increasingly seems to become a political agency, through its potential to transform society and the sense of togetherness. However, in the meantime, politics has entered into crisis. Each of us has the possibility to express their own, individual voice, but without building, in turn, any meaningful or resonant collective and community. We argue that a temporal approach is needed to understand such a crisis of community and of the politics. To that end, we introduce Paul Ricoeur (1985)’s thought on a ‘crisis of the present’ that we apply to new ways of working. We conclude by suggesting that new ways of working may be missing practices likely to produce the extra-temporality that managerial agency needs to perform. Without this extra-temporality, the managerial agency of new ways of working just keeps weakening our sense of togetherness.
Craftsmanship, making and do-it-ocracy are prominent elements of the so-called new world of work. In this chapter, we describe the ‘experience of making’ in two makerspaces, one located in France and the other in the United States. In particular, we focus on three concepts – silence, atmosphere and togetherness – in order to flesh out, or make visible, the specificities of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Do-It-Together (DIT) processes in makerspaces. We mobilise Merleau-Ponty’s work and an aesthetic perspective on time and place to delve into the experience of making. This leads us to propose the concept of New Collaborative Experiences (NCE), which we define as new modes of feeling and expressing the self and the world in a context that requires a collective production and coordination, as a way of illuminating our two ethnographic accounts.
This edited volume has endeavoured to link micro-social experiences of work with the wider macro-social context in which these changes operate, so as to provide a rich and detailed account of the most prominent manifestations of the ‘new’ world of work. As they delved into the minutiae of the new world of work, the chapters of this edited volume have explored some of the continuities and discontinuities in ways of working, as a means of fleshing out the socio-economic context of the micro-social experiences of work. In particular, three aspects of these changes and continuities have recurrently emerged throughout the chapters. These are: (i) creativity and changing skills; (ii) the time and space of work; and (iii) the changing nature of the employment relationship and beyond. In this concluding chapter, we reflect further on these themes.
Over the past few years, much has been written on the changing world of work, with discussions focusing, for instance, on the rise of automation (Spencer 2018), changes in the nature of the employment relationship (Sweet and Meiksins 2013), the (failed) promises of the gig economy (Cant 2019; Wood, Graham, Lehdonvirta & Hjorth 2019) or new ways of collaborating and co-producing (de Vaujany, Leclerq-Vandelannoitte & Holt 2020). Importantly though, these discussions are not novel, neither are the phenomena they seek to describe. The history of work is full of déjà vu. Communities, participatory systems, horizontality, democracy at work and nomadism are far from being new topics per se. In the nineteenth century, the Arts and Crafts Movement, socialist utopian communities, anarchy and Marxism had already involved public debates around these topics (see Granter 2016; Leone and Knauf 2015; Tilly 2019). Yet, there is clearly a renewed interest for these themes in research attempting to grapple with the multifaceted nature and the complex meaning of contemporary work (see for instance Aroles, Mitev & de Vaujany 2019; Fayard 2019; Simms 2019; Susskind 2020).
Exploring the different facets of the new world of work (including the hacker and maker movements, platform work, and digital nomadism), this edited volume sets out to investigate and theorise how these new work practices are experienced by various actors. It explores such changes at both the micro and macro levels and sets out to link them back to wider social, managerial and political issues. In doing so, it aims to reflect on the similarities and differences between new and 'old' work practices and problematize discourses surrounding the future of work. This volume is characterized by the diversity of methods mobilized, the plurality of concepts, lenses and theories deployed as well as the richness of the empirical accounts used by the authors. It will appeal to a broad readership of management and organizational scholars as well as sociologists interested in current changes to the world of work.
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