My primary research project concerns work; its meaning; its past and its present; its problems, its value, and the emancipatory potential of its overcoming. I have also started on a second major research project concerning dissent and protest in democratic societies, with a particular focus on climate activism.
My dissertation research is motivated by present problems with work. Work in post-industrial societies is beset by a range of social pathologies. Furthermore, anxiety is spreading in academia and in popular culture about the disappearance of work due to automation. Nevertheless, there is little agreement on how exactly work is changing, or about how best to analyse what is wrong with work. There is even much dispute about how to understand what work is. Consequently, there is much confusion about what democratic states can do to confront the present problems with work. In my dissertation, theoretically situated at the intersection of social theory, empirical sociology and political science, and normative political theory, I develop a framework for understanding work and its contemporary transformations, and for assessing their normative salience. Based on this, I present a novel approach for how to address these transformations, which I call ‘disassembling’ work.
My second major research project arises out of a concern with the unique challenges confronting democratic societies based on the scale of the threat of climate breakdown. This raises new problems for democratic theory ranging from the role of expertise in democratic societies and the legitimacy of disagreement, to challenges of conflicting temporalities. This project will ask how we need to rethink the role of dissent and protest in the face of catastrophe.