Approaching “work” as at heart a practice of exchange, this volume explores sociality in work environments marked by the kind of structural changes that have come to define contemporary “flexible” capitalism. It introduces anthropological exchange theory to a wider readership, and shows how the perspective offers new ways to enquire about the flexible capitalism’s social dimensions. The essays contribute to a trans-disciplinary scholarship on contemporary economic practice and change by documenting how, across diverse settings, “gift-like” socialities proliferate, and even sustain the intensified flexible commoditization that more commonly is touted as tearing social relations apart. By interrogating a keenly debated contemporary work regime through an approach to sociality rooted in a rich and distinct anthropological legacy, the volume also makes a novel contribution to the anthropological literature on work and on exchange.
About the Author
Jens Kjaerulff is a social anthropologist whose publications include Internet and Change: an Anthropology of Knowledge and Flexible Work (Intervention Press, 2010). He has held positions at Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, and University of Manchester, and is conducting independent research and serving as a consultant PhD supervisor.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Everybody Gives: Gifts in the Global Factory
Chapter 2. Unveiling the Work of the Gift: Neoliberalism and the Flexible Margins of Nation-State
Chapter 3. Flexibility Frictions: Economies of Connection in Contemporary Forms of Work
Chapter 4. Taking Over the Gift: The Circulation and Exchange of Options, Labour and ‘Lucky Money’ in Alberta’s Oil and Gas Industry
Chapter 5. How to Stay Entangled in a World of Flows: Flexible Subjects and Mobile Knowledge in the New Media Industries
Chapter 6. The Payoff of Love and the Traffic of Favours: Reciprocity, Social Capital and the Blurring of Value Realms in Flexible Capitalism
Chapter 7. Flexible Capitalism and Transactional Orders in Colonial and Postcolonial Mauritius: A Post-Occidentalist View
Chapter 8. The Corrosion of Character Revisited: Rethinking Uncertainty and Flexibility
Chapter 9. Afterword: Exchange and Corporate Forms Today
Notes on Contributors