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School of Business and Management

Exploring Affective Practices in the Changing Context of Dirty Work

15 March 2017

Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm
Venue: 4.04/4.08 Bancroft Building

Speaker name and affiliation

Dr Natasha Slutskaya, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management (Business and Management) - University of Sussex Business School


Organization studies, sociology of work, HRM, dirty work, gender, class, qualitative research methods.

Seminar title

'Exploring Affective Practices in the Changing Context of Dirty Work'


The aim of this study is to explore dirty workers’ affective responses to chronic insecurities produced by the practices and logic of neoliberalism, and to demonstrate the centrality of affect in shaping the relationship with the past and the future. An ethnographic approach was adopted, using participant observation and narrative interviews with 37 road sweepers, refuse collectors and graffiti removers on their daily rounds. The findings demonstrate how participants’ understandings of their work were underpinned by the erosion of traditional norms and a conflicting emergent neoliberal ‘moral sense’, evoking strong feelings of anxiety and nostalgia. We discuss how these affective responses shape dirty workers’ relationship with the past and the future, strengthening their attachment to the past and hindering the possibility of engagement with the future.

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