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Working Under Precarity: Work Affect and Emotional Labor


This module aims to provide an overview of some of the historical approaches to the relationship between affect, emotion and work, and to bring those to bear upon the contemporary politics of work under different contexts of precarity. Specifically, it examines the relation between work and affect under present conditions of post-Fordism and of the neoliberal organization of production, time, and subjectivity. Using cinematic texts as primary references, the goals of this module are to point to bothcapital's exploitation of affect, but also capital's production of affect, as these intersect with the concerns of gender and precarity.

The following two sections provide two approaches for thinking about how forces of capital both exploit and produce affect. Each section provides different resources for thinking about how exploitation and affects can yield new subjectivities and different forms of sociality. These subjectivities and sociality do not necessarily reproduce capital, and can in fact yield forms of resistance. After discussing some of the relevant theoretical issues, each section then suggests ways that these can be understood through readings of films.

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