Lynne Pettinger

Lynne Pettinger works in the University of Warwick's sociology department. She studies musicians, customers of prostitutes, customer service work and green collar work.


April 11, 2013 Pious Lies

“The business of earning your daily bread is really sad and wearisome. People come up with the most pious lies about work. It’s just another abominable form of idolatry, a dog licking the rod that beats it: work.” (Luther Blissett, 2004 [2000]: Q. Arrow Books: 28). Recent stories about work have got me thinking about…

December 9, 2012 See Me Work

I live opposite a classroom. I say live, I mean that my office is opposite a classroom and that I’m in it for hours and hours on end. I have a running joke with a fellow early-riser about which of us slept overnight in the office. It’s only a matter of time… there’s already a…

September 3, 2012 Hard Hats

August 8, 2012 Green Ethics and Cheap Work

It’s been a while. Instead of writing for nowaytomakealiving, I’ve been doing fieldwork for a research project called ‘Green Collar work’, investigating the values and motivations for those working in eco-businesses, with a particular interest in environmental consultants and those selling eco-products. It’s been fascinating. I’ve met a shaman, a former banker and a guitarist,…

May 17, 2012 You’re Screwed

There’s a lot of construction work gone into the high-tech sport venues that are now littering the country. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that matter. These screws are some of the ‘missing masses’, as mundane and as important as can be (Latour, 1992). (source: cyclingweekly.co.uk via Ewen Speed) On your hands and knees: your mate…

May 11, 2012 The Cost Of Bleeping

Since reading Ewen Speed’s piece about working contracts in the NHS, I’ve been thinking more about the experience of health care work. I’ve just read a fascinating and perplexing tale of the contingencies of work in healthcare. The first time I saw a pager, in 1994, I though it was a pretty clever device. You…

April 17, 2012 Don’t Be A Mobber

Having a job is one thing, something to be grateful for. Having a job that grants you ‘dignity at work’ is something better. In the UK, a longstanding Unite the Union campaign for dignity stresses freedom from bullying as making for a decent workplace and happy workers. An obvious example of bullying is the bad…

February 21, 2012 Handwritten

My GP writes notes straight onto the computer, and I’ve seen students try to keep up with lectures by typing on an ipad. In these days of cheap laser jet printing, where even the smallest of businesses can usually afford to type up their signs, and there are few spaces left for public displays of…

February 16, 2012 Delivery Services

Search is the metaphor for the internet age (Stark, 2009). Google’s a verb, and you can access the world from your smartphone. And so who has any use for the fat, heavy paper directory, searchable only in the sense that entries are organised in alphabetical order? Well, someone still wants and needs it, and someone…

February 8, 2012 Are Only Boring People Bored?

Of course not. Boredom, one of the ‘minor’ and ‘non-cathartic’ Ugly Feelings that fascinate Sianne Ngai (2005), is the lot of the service sector worker. Whether bored by the repetition of script – of which ‘have a nice day’ is the most clichéd, and ‘who’s next please?’ the most common – or bored by the…