This paper explores recent developments in anti-work theory to identify key learnings for ethnographers in industry. It focuses in particular on how anti-work perspectives allow us to rethink the managerial notions of resilience that dominate across many of the industries that collaborate with corporate ethnographers. In this tradition, achieving resilience is a matter of “finding yourself” at work – of ensuring that a job is not just a paycheck, but an avenue of self-fulfillment. In order to explore what resilience might look like if we bracket the question of work, this paper turns to COVID-era mutual aid projects. Two key learnings help reframe anti-work theory for the EPIC community: the necessity of 1) rethinking the notion of reciprocity that sustains our commitment to work (you only get out of work what you put in) and 2) making positive claims on behalf of freedom (not freedom from work but freedom to make the conditions of your life).
Article citation: 2022 EPIC Proceedings pp 194–201, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic
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