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Making Life Work: Work and Life in Coliving

MUSILEK, KAREL (2020) Making Life Work: Work and Life in Coliving. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis explores how life is made to work. This means, firstly, understanding how life enters the relations of production and how it is made to expend energy and produce value. Secondly, this means understanding the arrangements and practices that make life work in the sense of reproducing it, maintaining it and preventing it from falling apart.
This theme was explored through an ethnographic study of coliving - a purpose-built accommodation for professionals and entrepreneurs - which strives to create conditions most conducive to professional success. The thesis analysed the ways in which personal and domestic life is redesigned and rearranged in relation to the ideals of productivity and how new ways of living can simultaneously offer mutual support and assistance among workers while also normalising practices of overworking, precarity and (self)exploitation. This research is pertinent to debates about the impact of work and economic practices on contemporary life and argues that academic and political debates must go beyond the focus on work-life balance and address the multiple pressures on personal and domestic life both within and outside of the workplace.
The thesis develops a series of wider theoretical arguments and recommendations for future research. Firstly, it is argued that to understand the preference for modifying personal and domestic life, social analysis must go beyond ideological and discursive factors. It should consider the combination of discourse, attributes of the job situation, and characteristics of social reproduction that together produce a particularly intense commitment to work. Secondly, the thesis argues that in addition to focusing on how life is balanced with or colonised by work, the social analysis should focus on the social and material arrangements that maintain working lives. Thirdly, it argues for the importance of studying reflective and evaluative operations undertaken by social actors that question but ultimately reproduce intensive work-lives.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Work, life, coliving, capitalism, power, organisation, Foucault, ethnography, personal attachment to work, identity, entrepreneurship, governmentality, biocracy, affect, emotions, ethics, social reproduction, subjectivity, self, reflexivity
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Sociology, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Jan 2020 08:24

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