Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism

J.A. Smith, Mareile Pfannebecker

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Work Want Work considers in captivating detail how a logic of work has surreptitiously integrated itself into everything we do, even as the place of formal work has become dissipated and unreliable, and even as certain utopian writers are calling for its abolition. Through an interrogation of sociological data, political theory, legislation, the testimonies of workers and an eclectic mix of cultural texts – from Lucian Freud to Google, Anthony Giddens to selfies, Jean-Luc Nancy to Amy Winehouse – Pfannebecker and Smith lay out how capitalism has put our time, our subjectivities, our experiences and our desires to work in unprecedented ways only possible on the basis of globalised technologies.

But at a time where the end of work is proclaimed from so many corners, with Silicon Valley idealists, social democratic politicians and left-wing theorists all anticipating a fully automated future, can we really prescribe what humanity and society will look like post-work?

Original languageEnglish
PublisherZed Books
Number of pages192
ISBN (Electronic)9781786997296
ISBN (Print)9781786997272, 9781786997289
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020


  • Work
  • Automation
  • Unemployment
  • Utopia
  • Robots
  • Social Media
  • Digital Labour
  • Post-work
  • Jean-Luc Nancy
  • Feminism
  • Left-wing politics

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