The Mythology of Work


The Mythology of Work

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Distributed for Pluto Press

240 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 | © 2015
Once, work was inextricably linked to survival and self-preservation: the farmer ploughed his land so that his family could eat. In contrast, today work has slowly morphed into a painful and meaningless ritual for many, colonizing almost every part of our day, endless and inescapable.
            In The Mythology of Work, Peter Fleming examines how neoliberal society uses the ritual of work—and the threat of its denial—to maintain the late capitalist class order. Work becomes a universal reference point, devoid of any moral or political worth, transforming our society into a factory that never sleeps. Blending critical theory with recent accounts of job-related suicides, office-induced paranoia, fear of relaxation, managerial sadism, and cynical corporate social responsibility campaigns, Fleming paints a bleak picture of a society in which economic and emotional disasters greatly outweigh any professed benefits.

¿Muerte sin llanto? Reflexiones y comentarios críticos en torno de las investigaciones de Nancy Scheper-Hugues sobre la pobreza y la muerte infantil en el Nordeste brasileño

Death without weeping? Critical reflections and commentaries concerning Nancy Scheper-Hugues’ research on children’s poverty and death in the North-eastern Brazil

Pablo Romero Noguera
Antropólogo. Investigador doctorando en la Universidad de Barcelona.


Nancy Scheper-Hugues, antropóloga estadounidense, publicó en 1992 el libro La muerte sin llanto, con mucho éxito. En él etnografiaba la sociedad nordestina brasileña a través del caso de una ciudad de provincias y teorizaba sobre la pobreza y la muerte infantil, endémicas en la región. Sus polémicas tesis -en las que abunda con posterioridad- generaron reacciones en contra, sobre todo dentro de Brasil mismo, con el resultado de que finalmente sus investigaciones sobre estos temas no son tenidas en cuenta precisamente donde más deberían serlo. En este artículo presento el contexto y la vocación de su investigación, para seguidamente criticar sus conclusiones -en la línea de las críticas que ya se le han hecho- y proponer alternativas interpretativas a partir de sus propios datos.

Nancy Scheper-Hugues, an American anthropologist, published in 1992 Death without Weeping, a successful book. There, from a case study of a country town, she writes the ethnography of the society of North-eastern Brazil (O Nordeste) and theorizes about children’s poverty and death, both endemic. Her controversial theories, abounding in her papers afterwards, were strongly contested mainly in Brazil. As a consequence, her analyses are not taken into account precisely where they should be taken more seriously. In this article, I present the context and the aim of her research on children’s poverty and death in North-eastern Brazilian society, and then I submit a criticism -following the critics that have been already done so- and I suggest interpretative alternatives starting from her own data.

Brasil | pobreza | Nordeste brasileño | muerte infantil | subdesarrollo | Brazil | poverty | Brazilian Northeastern | children’s death | underdevelopment


Call for Reviews: Recent Publications on #Children

To celebrate the arrival of another tiny Allie, Allegra is launching a small but perfectly formed list of publications on #children, this time with a call for reviews. If you are interested in reviewing one of the books featured, please contact Allegra’s reviews editor Judith Beyer or reviews assistant Rosie Gant at and they will send out a copy.

Welcome to the world little one, we hope you will be just as fascinated by it as we are!

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