For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The possibility of disalienated work: Being at home in alternative organizations"

by Kociatkiewicz, Jerzy; Kostera, Monika; Parker, Martin (2021)


Work organizations have long employed various management techniques in order to maximize workers? engagement, which in itself implies that ?alienation? at work is common. One of the central descriptions of alienation in classic writings is the idea of not being ?at home? while at work. In this article, however, we explore its obverse, which we term ?disalienation? ? a relationship to work based on assumptions concerning control and agency, aided by collective participatory mechanisms for identity construction and dialogical building of social relationships. We suggest that the concept and experience can be productively explored in the context of organizations which are owned and controlled by workers. Using ethnographic case studies from two Polish co-operatives, we discuss the potential characteristics of a disalienating relation to a work organization and suggest that co-operatives can provide a way for workers to be ?at home? while they are at work.


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