May 12, 2019, by criticalmoment

Toxic Positivity in the University – Second Speaker: Dr Jamie Woodcock (16th May)

Please do join us for the second instalment of the Centre for Critical Theory’s ‘Toxic Positivity in the University‘ series which is taking place next week. Dr Jamie Woodcock (University of Oxford) is a sociologist of work who focuses on digital labour, the gig economy and resistance. At 5pm in room A46 of the Trent Building, on Thursday the 16th of May, he will give the following talk …

Toxic Positivity: From the Call Centre to the University

This paper will explore the development of toxic positivity in contemporary work. It starts by examining how toxic positivity is encouraged by management in call centres. The different techniques are discussed, including the prevalence of “buzz sessions” and other examples of how affect is encouraged and managed at work. The popularity of these approaches is then placed within the rise of neoliberalism, as well as shifts within human resources practices. The second example explores the rise of so-called gig work practices, with the marketing emphasis on entrepreneurship, flexibility, and opportunities. These are compared with the realities of bogus self-employment, often supported through these practices of toxic positivity – as well as the prevalence of rating systems. The paper then reflects on how these processes have left the call centre and the gig economy to become increasingly applied to wider sections of work, including universities. It concludes by thinking about how the previous examples can inform a struggle against toxic positivity today.

If you want to catch up on the first talk in this series by Jana Bacevic, you can hear it here.

Dave Young, Ivan Markovic and Abi Rhodes (Centre for Critical Theory)

Posted in Centre for Critical TheoryMA in Critical Theory and Cultural StudiesNeoliberalismUncategorized