Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 0.93 inches | 1.09 pounds

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About the Author

Andrew Ross is Professor of American Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including No-Collar, Fast Boat to China, No Respect, Strange Weather, and, from NYU Press, Anti-Americanism and Real Love.


"Nice Work If You Can Get It, is impressive for its extraordinary range and sweep, and for asking questions about the kinds of transnational and cross-class alliances that might be made, the kinds of solidarities that might be forged, between differently positioned members of the global & precariat: sweatshop labourers, janitors, academics, and creatives. In doing so it offers a passionate, humane critique of contemporary capitalism."--Times Higher Education Supplement
"According to Ross, job insecurity became commonplace long before the current financial debacle. As economies shifted from industry to information, the benefits and securities of the Keynesian era quietly gave way to a workforce of temps, freelancers, adjuncts, and migrants. Ross finds that city fathers are more interested in Olympic bids and stadium projects than in sustainable employment, while corporations spend more on & social responsibility public-relations campaigns than on addressing worker complaints, and activists are too focussed on narrow concerns to find common cause with natural allies."--The New Yorker
"Economic liberalization, [Ross] demonstrates, has opened up a frenetic global traffic in jobs and migrants, uprooting people in a manner both useful and troubling to the managers of capital. In short, more people are available to exploit, but they are also harder to control. . . . A thorough and thoughtful study of global professional insecurity."--The Times Literary Supplement
"This excellent and, in places, brilliant book should be read by anyone interested in a timely and astute analysis of the malaise of life and work in neoliberal postmodern society. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice
"Illuminating. . . . Who knows what will be on the table when the damage of the global crisis is told? At the very least, one may hope for a return to security, sensible financial regulation, and a renewed interest in economic equity. Other worlds are possible, and with luck thinkers like Ross can point the way to imagining them more fully."--BookForum
"With admirable timing, [Ross] examines a global workplace infrastructure thats as shaky as the economy would indicate. . . . Though far from uplifting, this is a bold, pointed look at reality as it is, a far more valuable commodity."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"What is compelling about Rosss analysis of precarity is recognition that the & movement of these part-time workers is loaded with a host of internal contradictions. The concept of precarity has been deployed by academics and organized labor to describe the & condition of social and economic insecurity associated with post-Fordist employment and neoliberal governance (p. 34). [] As Ross asks: & Even if this concept is theoretically plausible, does it make sense to imagine cross-class coalitions of the precarious capable of developing a unity of consciousness and action on an international scale? (p. 6). Indeed, this remains a pertinent question considering the debates emerging as a result of the international Occupy phenomenon."--Critical Sociology
"Nice Work If You Can Get It, insists that the combination of transnational capitalism and globalization has eliminated stability and security from the lives of working people."--The New Leader
"Though Ross favors ironic twists on cliches like Nice Work If You Can Get It, he might also have titled the book Working Absurd. And though he would probably resist the high handed aspect of the public intellectual, he has fleshed out the precarious and inequitable terms of contemporary labor, meeting people where they are.""--The Chronicle Review
"Nice Work provides insight into a sea change in labor markets and work lives that has occurred over the past forty years. It is an intelligent work that raises thought-provoking questions about contingent labor."--Steven T. Sheehan "Enterprise and Society "