2014 Annual Meeting
February 20-23, 2014
Work is central to collective life. But which work is recognized and valued? Paid jobs are only part of the picture. People also work to find and keep jobs and homes; to nurture others; to build communities; to access services; and more. Migrants and refugees work to sustain transnational families and build new lives. People work to establish and transform identities, protect privileges, and resist the indignities of marginalization. They work to make change. Children work, in the informal economy, as well as at home, in school, and in their communities. Many people have long worked in shadow economies; some have begun to create new kinds of local economies. And new technologies are producing novel forms of work that are only beginning to be understood.
A job description directs attention to some parts of a job and not others. Carework is valued in the abstract, but is rarely written into policy. Much of the work that sustains North American lives is performed elsewhere by workers who remain largely unacknowledged. The work that racial and ethnic group members do to resist oppression and prejudice is recognized within their communities, but is invisible to many in dominant groups. What kinds of change might be possible if these efforts were seen more clearly? This year, we invite submissions that re-examine this “generous” concept of work broaden its initial conceptualization, and reflect on its continuing relevance and transnational dimensions. In a time of ongoing economic transformation, studies of invisible, unpaid, unacknowledged, and under-valued work can contribute to scholarship, policies, and politics that take account of the full range of activities that sustain people’s everyday lives.
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