‘You’re our last hope!’ – Some thoughts on the culture of self-exploitation

How I came to be exploited

After finishing my MA in Criminology in 2011, I made a (not unexpected) discovery. “Criminologist” isn’t really a job and so there are no jobs for criminologists. I also found out that preparing for a PhD is a lot of work, but not of the kind that anyone will pay you for.

I soon found a job working night shifts in a home for people with developmental and physical disabilities. I worked nights, which meant I started work at 9.30, went to bed between ten and eleven. I got up again at 5.15 and worked till 8.30, getting people up, washing, dressing and feeding them. It’s hard work that is even harder when you’ve not had enough sleep.

I work with people with developmental disabilities because it is one of most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I don’t think there is another job with such a time/hug ratio and, it’s nice when someone actually shrieks with delight when they see you. I also picked this work because it is so completely removed from what I do ‘in real life’ – in the academic context. Or so I thought.

My own research is into the connection between morality and neoliberalism. Specifically I look at the belief systems of people who profit from social inequality. If you follow classical Marxist theory, the very existence of capitalist systems depend on exploitation. Someone (for example a member of the proletariat) is being exploited when his or her work is not adequately compensated because someone else (for example a member of the bourgeoisie) is pocketing the difference. Marx believed that the exploited would start fighting back eventually and strip their exploiters of their power

Marx had underestimated the power of ideology to stop that from happening. In ‘The culture industry’ Theodor W. Adorno described how the belief that individuals can be successful too if they just keep playing by the rules helps discipline people ...

Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK