December 6, 2010 A Long Night and an Early Start: ‘La piccola pesca’ of Cagliari

Wednesday, 1 December I wandered down to the docks in Caglari tonight at around 6pm. Walking down Largo Carlo Felice, the main road from Piazza Yenne (sort of the centre of town), you know the water is there because of the view of the ferries (and on some days, cruise liners) above the horizon. Alongside…

October 5, 2010 The Sound of the Sell: San Benedetto Fish Market, Cagliari

My first taste of the fish market in Cagliari was just that. It seemed to me that as soon as we got out of the car parked next to the market the air quite literally tasted of fish. Down a few steps into the fish section of the purpose-built covered Mercato San Benedetto, we were…

October 2, 2010 Markers of Work That No Longer Exists: Net Drying in Lowestoft

I saw the wooden posts photographed in these pictures on a recent visit to Lowestoft (on the east coast of the UK) to research the history of fishing there. They looked strange but established on a small stretch of land between the sea and the main road, in the area north of the town known…

August 31, 2010 Paris métro

May 17, 2010 Living and Working on Sheppey: Past, Present and Future

2010 marks fifty years since the closure of the Naval Dockyard on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. It was quite a blow to the island. There was the immediate loss of an ‘occupational community’ where the single large employer that had dominated the local economy and brought people together with a shared sense of…

April 26, 2010 Congratulations on getting married, now you have to leave your job

Researching women and work can be really puzzling. There is a series of things I genuinely don’t understand: how it feels to earn your living in a workplace where you are the only woman or in a small minority; what it’s like frequently finding yourself the only person of your sex in workplace contexts; the…

February 1, 2010 Challenging the Mut(e)ation of Working Lives

Whilst there are ever-increasing opportunities to explore work in the new economy through alternative mediums, here in organization studies (a distinctive, though I hope welcome, cousin of the sociology of work movement), we often equate sensual forms of knowing with all things visual. Not to dismiss this visual turn of course: it helps us to…

January 25, 2010 A short exchange with Miriam Glucksmann about ‘Women on the Line’

In 1982, Miriam Glucksmann published a book about the experience of women working ‘on the line’ at a factory in West London which produced speedometers for cars. She had left her higher education teaching job to work in this factory, not with the intention of producing an ethnography, nor with any illusions of ‘joining the…

December 22, 2009 A Day’s Work at Billingsgate Fish Market

Earlier this year, I started hanging around Billingsgate, London’s wholesale fish market. I tell the fish merchants there that I’m trying to understand the whole process, of where the fish comes from and goes to, how it gets distributed, who’s selling what, and more generally what goes on at the market. It’s part of an…

October 26, 2009 The Construction of a New Building

In December 2005, just a few months into a two-year research contract at Essex, the bull-dozers arrived and started digging directly outside my office. Construction of the new Social Science Research Building was finally underway. A good thing for sure, in principle but not in such close proximity. Still, I took to looking out of…