20th June 2011 On Being Lucky Enough to Win a Job: The Story of the Supermarket Lottery in Sardinia

Born and raised in the same place in South­ern Sar­dinia, we, Valentina and Annal­isa, dis­cov­ered some time ago that we share sim­i­lar research inter­ests in work and pre­car­i­ous employ­ment. Sur­pris­ingly enough, we would add, as we lost sight of each other after school and met again ten years later, after hav­ing lived and stud­ied in…

13th June 2011 The Young Workers of Dongguan

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I crossed over the bor­der into main­land China and headed for Dong­guan, a sprawl­ing mass of three, four, five storey fac­tory com­plexes pump­ing out some of the toys and tex­tiles that have helped pro­pel the Chi­nese eco­nomic ‘mir­a­cle’. Trav­el­ling its streets by taxi and minibus and walk­ing through…

7th June 2011 Welcome to the Misery Line

Trav­el­ling in the last car­riage on a south­bound North­ern Line train between East Finch­ley and Cam­den Town before the year 2000, the obser­vant pas­sen­ger might have noticed the Guard sip­ping tea from an enamel cup. Nowa­days the guard is all but for­got­ten and those of you who have trav­elled on the Dock­lands Light Rail­way can…

1st June 2011 Terrible Necessities

On the 69th Floor This is one of the most famous pho­tographs of work, Charles C. Ebbets’ ‘Lunchtime atop a Sky­scraper’. It’s the sort of image that counts as iconic – that is, you can buy a poster ver­sion of it. Taken in 1932 as the 69th Floor of the Rock­e­feller Cen­ter was being built,…