24th March 2010 Choosing Well

H&M, the Scan­di­na­vian fast fash­ion brand has just opened a store in the town I live in. It opened a few days after a fire killed 21 employ­ees of a knitwear fac­tory in Bangladesh which is sub­con­tracted by H&M to make those cute stripy jumpers, and that really use­ful lit­tle black cardy.

16th March 2010 The Damage of the Strike

Flight atten­dants are an extra­or­di­nar­ily pop­u­lar sub­ject of study (Hochschild, 1983; Tay­lor and Tyler, 2000; Williams, 2003). Research focuses on the emo­tional labour and body work involved, as Dawn high­lighted recently. The cus­tomer here is a pow­er­ful, but shad­owy fig­ure, who extracts and deserves ser­vice, and whom the cabin crew must please. These aca­d­e­mic concerns…

8th March 2010 Bodywork

The Postman’s Uniform

Life as a soci­ol­o­gist of work isn’t inevitably amus­ing, but Friday’s news that a group of French postal work­ers had taken La Poste to court for rec­om­pense for the labour involved in clean­ing their uni­forms made me smile. I did enjoy the chal­lenge this court case makes to the idea that all labour that (re-)produces…

4th March 2010 Careers Advice

My Dad has a story about how he came to get a job. It was the mid-60s, and he was going to leave school with a mis­cel­lany of o-levels. The teacher called him in and said, “well Pet­tinger, what’s it to be”. “dunno sir” Mr Heck­thorpe starts read­ing from the list of pos­si­ble careers, start­ing at A. “Accountant?”