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Scientific paper


Environmental selves and alternative meanings of work

Kristoffer Wilén

Entry type:
Scientific paper

Year of publication:

Degrowth Conference Budapest 2016


Our article is based on interviews with 20 self-declared environmentally conscious individuals, and by drawing on theories of performativity (Judith Butler), we have studied the ways in which questions of work and working life are negotiated within the formation of green selves (identities). We believe that our findings are relevant for understanding how environmental concerns generate reflections on contemporary ways to organize work, as well as alternative understandings of work. We have identified four different ways of performing greenness at work, each revealing different ways of criticizing neoliberalised work and revealing its inherent tensions. These different performances are based on partly competing and partly overlapping meanings of work, and consist of various tactics for re-organizing work to match one’s values (re-organizing for creating and enacting an environmental working self.) We claim that these ways of performing greenness at work reveal not only existing alternative meanings and practices of work which could be promoted, but also inform us about potential built-in tensions in the contemporary neo-liberal organization of work. These could be used to articulate and design post-capitalist degrowth work politics and practices.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Environmental selves and alternative meanings of work“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

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