theory to practice

I never thought I would see the day when the critical race theory, intersectionality, feminism, queer theory, trans/gender politics and class consciousness that I soaked up during my arts undergrad degree in an Australian university in the 90s (and therefore where I was relatively removed from the central marginal action (so to speak))would collide into actual everyday fearful reality AND that people would be talking about such as such.


Excerpt from my first blog

“Books brought me up. I was parented, sibling-ed and friended by Books. My longest, healthiest, most forgiving relationship has always been with books. Books have taught me more about different manners, different customs, different ways of knowing, different ways of being in the world than any single person could ever teach me. No wonder I stuck it out.

Books haven’t always been the best parent. But I also haven’t always been the best child, letting books take me wherever, unthinkingly and without  question (and often contrary to the advice given by books).

Books havealso allowed me to be lazy, passive, uncritical and shallow. For example, I find it very easy to speed read and thus, over the years have missed a lot of the fine(r) and arguably important detail…”

The workplace as careplace

Thinking about the workplace as a place of care involves thinking about:

  • social geographies of care
  • geographies of work and the workplace
  • worklife
  • in/security and precarity
  • under/valuing
  • gendering
  • performance
  • uncertainties
  • economies
  • health
  • safety
  • emotion
  • (the unicorn?) of worklife balance and relatedly –
  • compartmentalising
  • messy everydaylife
  • identity
  • diversity
  • equity
  • the increasingly porous distiinctions between workplace and home


Ahmed, Sara (2014)

Gawande, Atul (2017) 


On ‘greedy institutions’ and (over)work

From: ‘Greedy Institutions, Overwork, and Work-Life Balance’ by Teresa A. Sullivan in Sociological Inquiry, 2014 vol 84, no 1, 1-15:

Karoshi (Japanese) is death by overwork. “In deaths that are tiuled to be karoshi, the underlying medical causes are typically cardiovascular in origin – cerebral hemorrhage, myocardial infarction, heart failure” (p1)

Workaholics Anonymous publishes a list of tell-tale signs that someone is working too much.

In Greedy Institutions (1974), Lewis Coser describes “how different types of organized groups compete with each other for the limited energies and time commitment of individuals…The competing claims on our time and energy remain manageable as long as these organisations make only limited, reasonable demands on us” (2-3) “Members of greedy institutions must be so fully and totally committed to them that they become unavailable for alternative lines of action” (Coser 1974) “(Unlike Goffman’s ‘total institutions’) greedy institutions do not always control their participants location, but they seek ever greater commitments of time” (3) “Collective baragaining agreements, which traditionally covered hours and working conditions, cover fewer workers including most of the salaried and white-collar workers” (3).

workplace geographies – a cross-disciplinary reference list

Carmona, S. and Ezzamel, M., 2015. Accounting and lived experience in the gendered workplace. Accounting, Organizations and Society.

Cockayne, D.G., 2015. Entrepreneurial affect: Attachment to work practice in San Francisco’s digital media sector. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, p.0263775815618399.

Crang, P., 1994. It’s showtime: on the workplace geographies of display in a restaurant in southeast England. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 12(6), pp.675-704.

Datta, K., McIlwaine, C., Evans, Y., Herbert, J., May, J. and Wills, J., 2007. From coping strategies to tactics: London’s low‐pay economy and migrant labour. British journal of industrial relations, 45(2), pp.404-432.

Gill, R. and Pratt, A., 2008. In the social factory? Immaterial labour, precariousness and cultural work. Theory, culture & society, 25(7-8), pp.1-30.

Hochschild, A.R., 2003. The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Univ of California Press.

Kanngieser, A., 2013. Tracking and tracing: geographies of logistical governance and labouring bodies. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 31(4), pp.594-610.

Lubrano, A. (2004). Limbo: Blue-collar roots, white-collar dreams. John Wiley & Sons.

McDowell, L., 2004. Work, workfare, work/life balance and an ethic of care. Progress in Human Geography, 28(2), pp.145-163.

McDowell, Linda. Working bodies: Interactive service employment and workplace identities. Vol. 61. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

McDowell, L., Ray, K., Perrons, D., Fagan, C. and Ward, K., 2005. Women’s paid work and moral economies of care. Social & Cultural Geography, 6(2), pp.219-235.

McMorran, C., 2012. Practising workplace geographies: embodied labour as method in human geography. Area, 44(4), pp.489-495.

Meakin, Susan (2012) Researching an Overlooked Workforce in a University: catering, caretaking and security staff.

Milligan, C. and Wiles, J., 2010. Landscapes of care. Progress in Human Geography, 34(6), pp.736-754.

Mountz, A., Bonds, A., Mansfield, B., Loyd, J., Hyndman, J., Walton-Roberts, M., Basu, R., Whitson, R., Hawkins, R., Hamilton, T. and Curran, W., 2015. For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(4), pp.1235-1259.

Wagner, E.H., 2010. Academia, chronic care, and the future of primary care. Journal of general internal medicine, 25(4), pp.636-638.

Paulsen, R. (2014). Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance. Cambridge University Press.

Pugh, A. J. (2015). The Tumbleweed Society: Working and caring in an age of insecurity. Oxford University Press, USA.

Saval, N. (2014). Cubed: A secret history of the workplace. Doubleday.

Tokumitsu, M. (2015). Do What You Love: And Other Lies About Success & Happiness. Simon and Schuster.

Vance, J.D., 2016. Hillbilly elegy: A memoir of a family and culture in crisis. HarperCollins UK.



enough with the professorial lectures disguised as ‘advice’.

enough with the memories disguised as ‘mentoring’.

you may be at the top of your game as professor, have reached the top of your pile, have won some races as a hot shot researcher but when it comes to early career researchers, in this time and place, it’s not worth very much at all.

Time, funding, jobs – that’s what counts. You have no control over the first, even you have to struggle for the second, and the third – well, pretending that there are jobs a-plenty makes you look like you are not really with it.

enough with the pretending.