Love, just like care, is no innocent word. Calling upon a site of non-work in this context may seem like a faint and tired sigh. Mind you, this zone does find itself in Zurich, Switzerland. The wealth of this city partly stems from textile industries and its multiple implications with colonial, racialized, classist and gendered violence. We remember the past of this place in order to ask the same old questions, repeatedly: What activities are considered valuable enough to be called “work”? Who does the never ending and always invisible labor of love, emotion and care? What is the prize of this invisibility and who pays for it? What infrastructures need to be built in order to keep the most vulnerable safe?
With work being at the center of marking and making a persons’ identity, governing the feelings around one’s activity has become an important skill, if not a whole range of skills to bring onto the job. Soft skills. Love as well as care are key to this. Kathie Weeks wrote an essay titled “Down with Love” where she draws on 1970s feminist critiques of romance to investigate the contemporary management discourses of love and happiness at work. Here is an extract. Enjoy.
“Do what you love, they preach; learn how to love your work in ten easy steps. Fall back in love with your job. Learn even to love the work you hate. The future of work is happy.
In the end it is not really about loving work so much, it would seem, as it is about fashioning oneself into someone who can love one’s work, or at least has the infective aura of someone who does.”
Kathi Weeks: “Down with Love: Feminist Critique and the New Ideologies of Work” in; WSQ: Precarious Work, vol. 45, no. 3&4, 2017.