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The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  153 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
In The Problem with Work, Kathi Weeks boldly challenges the presupposition that work, or waged labor, is inherently a social and political good. While progressive political movements, including the Marxist and feminist movements, have fought for equal pay, better work conditions, and the recognition of unpaid work as a valued form of labor, even they have tended to accept ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published September 9th 2011 by Duke University Press Books (first published August 1st 2011)
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David
Dec 30, 2014 David rated it it was ok
While I'm sympathetic to the idea that there are a lot of problems with work and its centrality to most people's lives, the very high level of abstraction of the writing was an impediment to my getting into this. Doesn't really discuss any jobs in specific (is being an associate professor of women's studies at Duke, like the author, a bad job? if so, how and why? If not, then what sorts of jobs in particular are we talking about? ones with low autonomy? low wages?).

I guess I've lost my touch sin
...more
Kim
Nov 15, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I anticipate this book, and that which it represents, will be a cornerstone of my politics for some years to come.

In the first two chapters, it calls into question the central role of the institution of work in capitalism, as well as the primacy of productivist discourses more universally, not only within capitalism but also within Marxism, specifically the Marxist traditions of socialist modernism and socialist humanism. The politics of the autonomist Marxist "refusal of work" are also elucidat
...more
Kyle
Apr 26, 2013 Kyle rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mac
Aug 28, 2014 Mac rated it liked it
It is a truth universally acknowledged that work sucks and you shouldn’t do it.

This is an argument – the one Kathi Weeks puts forward early in her book – that I can definitely get behind. The first half of “The Problem with Work” is a very adept analysis of the way work, and workers’ concepts of work, shape our lives (she focuses primarily on the United States). Beginning with Max Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” she describes the “work ethic” and its function in kee
...more
Yoel
Mar 13, 2013 Yoel rated it really liked it
Kathi Weeks tackles a lot of hard and frequently overlooked issues in this book. Her strongest analysis and critique come into play when she focuses on the secularization of the protestant work ethic and its ties to feminist labor activism and modern ways of life. Reading this book was laborious yet exciting; it challenged some of my deepest framings and beliefs. However, the race analysis in this book is glaringly lacking and, when present, tenuous at best.
Devon
May 05, 2012 Devon rated it it was amazing
Weeks traces the development of the work ethic and the problems it presents us within our current society. She then uses the autonomist marxist tradition of the 70s, and specifically the feminist project of the Wages for Housework movement as a starting point to launch her own demands of less hours with no reduction in pay and a guaranteed basic income to everyone, regardless of employment or family status. She moves along this trajectory with detailed theoretical discussion of various currents ...more
Marion
May 16, 2016 Marion rated it it was amazing
Very valuable although highly intellectual discussion of such issues as wages for housework, a post-work society, and basic guaranteed income. I recommend this for anyone struggling to get by, as well as those who are concerned about making the economy sustainable or improving the general social welfare.
Mcftdhorapusswrtrvocm
Mar 31, 2016 Mcftdhorapusswrtrvocm rated it it was amazing
This book gives a lot of background information into some really nice topics, so I loved it both for its density and ability to generate a claim out of the many fem Marxist notions of capitalism
Michael
Mar 25, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
A very thought-provoking book. Investigates the theoretical and political obstacles in the way of "getting a life" beyond work. Draws heavily on Weber, Marx, the Wages for Housework movement, Ernst Bloch & Nietzsche to challenge the work ethic that binds us to capitalist production and reproduction; then uses the utopian demands of a guaranteed basic income and shorter work hours to estrange the reader from the existing world of work, work, work and to free up the resources and time needed t ...more
Kate
Apr 23, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: college
read in my gender, work, and family class.
Beatrix M
Jun 01, 2016 Beatrix M rated it it was amazing
This book ruined me in the best way.
Ira
Jul 12, 2014 Ira rated it really liked it
A little derivative in places but the way the author creates a dialogue between classical theories that do not normally communicate is original and compelling. Good resource for those who are looking for a theoretical framework that joins together theories of refusal of work and autonomist feminism.
Hawkins
Jan 09, 2013 Hawkins rated it really liked it
Actually, the book is really good. Weeks' writing is clear and I love that fact that it provides very good historical context for the concepts and works that she references to argue her points. Who should read this book anyone who works regardless what hierarchical labor position. Demand greatly!
Dan
Aug 29, 2016 Dan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phd-reading
Brilliant stuff. Now to make sense of my notes...
Jonathan
Jul 28, 2013 Jonathan rated it did not like it
Shelves: economics, philosophy
Reads like a PhD thesis from the 90s.
Max Haiven
Oct 23, 2013 Max Haiven rated it it was amazing
Excellent.
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“when we have no memory or little imagination of an alternative to a life centered on work, there are few incentives to reflect on why we work as we do and what we might wish to do instead.” 1 likes
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