Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (Chapters 3-4, On spiritual violence)

A reading group #MuseumofCare: Bullshit Jobs: A Theory 15-04-2021

15 April, 2021 – Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (Chapters 3-4, On spiritual violence) Facilitators: Greg Yudin (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences) and Vassily Pigounides Graeber’s work is part of a larger anthropological tradition that exposes the self-contradictory view of human motivation espoused by modern economics. However, his own original view of economic motivation has not been discussed. If the rational egoist of economists is a myth, what drives humans to work? And how is it possible at all to avoid labor violence (‘forcing to work’)? How does Graeber’s view relate to other approaches to politics of labor (such as Arendt or post-operaism)? What are the institutional settings encouraging humans to work towards a good life?

chat loggs

00:11:18 Oihane: Just signed!
00:13:18 Vassily Pigounidès: By the way, we’re discussing today Chapters 3 & 4 of Bullshit Jobs: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fdrive.google.com%2Ffile%2Fd%2F1tGfYpw2chgEiUNSy5CSnEfW4O7Ihfeqb%2Fview%3Fusp%3Dsharing%26fbclid%3DIwAR1XtQf0k4VfUthsk7-aWw89uhut2qsRZFivBRKIldGfPepcfKlVslrB0CE&h=AT0FjEczHC9F7jJjA1vcH8exioESyP0wsXrR9eAIO27GwKQ7SoPfuNclypJZ9-PND7cjJu8ZHKKRQIz1FKSb3MOd9MqN3IjlfKRUdjAYwcKxHPRs9scKaBWQwe6oE3XyY_fW&tn=q&c[0]=AT3pqayV0MGnA06mS-x_JIjNfyMR4wOhKlIx98MKSqGY2PzG62Wi2w2FgqC7WzmXcC2WfxNntZWDD-4sKIupk8RHFOoYQ6Ay3uPF5Kso81Kz8AhyES89YCewUBQlTYFpPom1Gu-2QWh19xSCdV8VqyH9g2z2sxlfqsDcyWrGSjJOc9o1
00:21:04 Vassily Pigounidès: On economic theory, see especially pp. 80 and so on
00:27:00 nika dubrovsky: I think David was thinking that we are playing games all the time, but some of the games are ugly and boringly dead. and we just don’t know how to get out from them.
00:28:24 Alice Turner: That makes me think of the 60’s book ‘games people play’ by eric berne
00:28:30 Vassily Pigounidès: It’s certainly not that fun anymore when someone else (your boss) is dictating the rules of the game
00:29:47 Yash Lad: He references John Huizinga’s Homo Ludens in his ethnography
00:30:08 Yash Lad: Johan*
00:30:24 Vassily Pigounidès: I don’t have a pdf Lynn Chancer’s book on Sadomasochism in Everyday Life. If someone does, I’d like to add it to the Library
00:30:54 Anca: I just came from a talk with a group of feminists, and we decided we should write our own terms and conditions. It can be perceived as reactive to the sadism but maybe it’s more fun when the rules are both ways
00:31:59 Yash Lad: sure thing
00:32:43 Yash Lad: Chomsky also said a bit about republicans/classical liberals and wage slavery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD62JTmfv4 00:34:16 Rachel Donald: Can I jump in next? 00:34:42 Vassily Pigounidès: Absolutely 00:35:30 Yash Lad: can I go next? 00:36:02 Vassily Pigounidès: Yes 00:36:32 Simona F: may I say sth? 00:36:33 Anca: a friend told me the term ‘community’ is a British thing, because they never had it. But in other places it’s a bit more normal to be part of a community 00:37:07 Vassily Pigounidès: Michael is next 00:37:17 Vassily Pigounidès: And then Simona 00:39:49 nika dubrovsky: the world without jobs (or works) will be the world of labor – as a birth of kids, of love labor or 00:40:12 monika hardy: driven by curiosity 00:40:29 monika hardy: kropotkin dirty jobs law et al 00:40:38 nika dubrovsky: labor that is not about gaining power 00:40:39 Tj: I think it depends. “Shit jobs” are still meaningful, but suck 00:41:08 nika dubrovsky: gaining 00:41:40 Oihane: But a lot of the time they suck cause you get paid little and get treated very badly, plus you don’t get any prestige or thankfulness for doing them 00:41:49 Vassily Pigounidès: Plato? 00:41:53 Oihane: The shit jobs, I meant 00:41:55 Scott Thompson: In Revolution in Reverse David says “if what I’ve been saying is true, the whole project of first invoking a revolutionary “multitude,” and then to start looking for the dynamic forces that lie behind it, begins to look a lot like the first step of that very process of institutionalization that must eventually kill the very thing it celebrates. Subjects (publics, peoples, workforces…) are created by specific institutional structures that are essentially frameworks for action. They are what they do. What revolutionaries do is to break existing frames to create new horizons of possibility, an act that then allows a radical restructuring of the social imagination This is perhaps the one form of action that cannot, by definition, be institutionalized.” How does that square with a Republican interpretation of work? 00:41:56 Tj: Yep indeed! 00:42:14 nika dubrovsky: and it is about private and public space. Private — kids, women and so on – house private VS public, work, “political” 00:42:28 Tj: And you typically don’t have autonomy in your shit job 00:43:01 Oihane: No, exactly. You’re supposed to only follow orders 00:43:50 nika dubrovsky: Republican is big in Russia because of European University in SPb and their liberal approach to everything. 00:44:27 nika dubrovsky: shite jobs is probably just a new version of proletariat, isn’t ? 00:45:05 Oihane: Sounds like it! 00:47:11 Oihane: The division between private and public or home and work seems to be very important. It seems to me that it’s done a lot of wrong, or perhaps a lot of bad things have come from it 00:48:10 Oihane: Not that there shouldn’t be a private domain at all, of course! 00:48:50 nika dubrovsky: Patriarchal society is all about this division, what is private, what is public, and what is meaningful and what is less meaningful, who gets a million and who gets nothing. 00:49:29 Oihane: True 00:50:16 monika hardy: ‘we maintain it because we cannot think of another kind of order for our societies’ 00:50:28 monika hardy: huge.. let’s work on that.. 00:52:37 Yash Lad: I remember someone said online that David’s essay on fun proved how humans want to ‘maximize fun’ …. missing the point of the essay 🙂 00:52:43 Rachel Donald: It’s the same paradox as the womb—you need emptiness in order to create life. 00:57:22 Simona F: Aristotelis said sth like: “we’ll not need slaves anymore the day when instruments will play themselves” 00:57:44 Yash Lad: wow 01:02:41 Tj: I’d like to go afterwards 01:03:58 Yash Lad: @Vassily do you have the link to the interview? Would love to read/listen 01:04:57 Vassily Pigounidès: Oh it’s in the book, pp. 128 and so on 01:09:58 Ellen Judd: Exactly, good ethnography, starting with people and keeping people at the heart. 01:10:18 Yash Lad: thanks a lot all! Need to go back to my own ‘_ job’ — take care!
01:10:25 Tj: Bye Yash!
01:10:39 Oihane: Take care!
01:13:04 m r: That’s great TJ! I’ve done that
01:13:14 Sevda Farokhi: sometimes people don’t know they are trapped in their bullshit job!
01:14:51 Oihane: I think the situationist, debord and vanenhaim, talked about the violence in our everyday relationships and exchanges. Though I’m not sure they used the word sadomasochism but what they described was very similar I think
01:14:51 Tj: @m r Cool! I knew I wasn’t the only one! 😛
01:15:29 Simona F: can you send the link in the chat, Sevda?
01:15:54 Tj: Ooh cool, thanks Sevda! http://libgen.rs/search.php?req=sadomasochism+in+everyday+life
01:16:12 Oihane: Nice! Thank you
01:16:28 Sevda Farokhi: thanks for the link!
01:16:42 Simona F: Link forbidden to Europeans
01:17:04 Oihane: Yeah, I cannot access it either
01:17:04 Tj: Hokie dokie, we’ll figure out how to distribute the book in the mailing list!
01:17:09 Vassily Pigounidès: Don’t worry sevda, I’ll add it to the Library
01:17:36 Sevda Farokhi: thanks!
01:17:48 Vassily Pigounidès: Thanks
01:18:55 Soumik Pal: I think David makes the distinction between power and domination, through Foucault, at the end of the book
01:20:25 Greg Yudin: Right, he implies Foucault was heading towards this definition
01:22:05 Vassily Pigounidès: Link to the petition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSddAcaGC4MUidRXhWaLuzdVNL4PLsPwBu3Yvfdnm0lIrcEmHw/viewform?gxids=7628&fbclid=IwAR18IRdAu4Ho94Q0TxFCjmSSGz6JMlePrI2dWyex-NVUpKu6d7K8YUu_JEY
01:22:10 Vassily Pigounidès: I share it again just in case
01:26:08 Greg Yudin: Here Caillois might come up once again. He has a great book on feasts
01:26:40 Vassily Pigounidès: Indeed