Work(ing) artefacts: tools of the trade, totems or trophies?

Tom Baum, Richard Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Do workplace artefacts have utility, for their custodians, beyond the workplace context? A new materiality perspective allowed the conversation to move beyond the parameters of the organisation and into the private spheres of both practicing and retired para-professionals. In this study of chefs, we discover the deliberate acquisition of occupational artefacts beyond their organisational utility. These artefacts betray a post-occupational identify deeply revelatory of materiality. We ask in what ways are these artefacts symbolic, or totemic? Findings provide fresh insights into how artefacts are mobilised as reverent 'working' objects, as totems, and trophies for nostalgia. This facilitates reflections on how work was or ought to be and so in turn who or ‘what I am’ or 'who I was'. Theoretically, this enables us to extend the nexus of materiality and work and materiality and everyday life over both time and place.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-44
Number of pages44
JournalHuman Relations
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Aug 2018

Fingerprint

artifact
workplace
nostalgia
everyday life
conversation
Artifact
Trophies
Materiality
Work place
Work Place

Keywords

  • artefacts
  • materiality
  • agency
  • nostalgia
  • chefs
  • occupational culture/community

Cite this

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title = "Work(ing) artefacts: tools of the trade, totems or trophies?",
abstract = "Do workplace artefacts have utility, for their custodians, beyond the workplace context? A new materiality perspective allowed the conversation to move beyond the parameters of the organisation and into the private spheres of both practicing and retired para-professionals. In this study of chefs, we discover the deliberate acquisition of occupational artefacts beyond their organisational utility. These artefacts betray a post-occupational identify deeply revelatory of materiality. We ask in what ways are these artefacts symbolic, or totemic? Findings provide fresh insights into how artefacts are mobilised as reverent 'working' objects, as totems, and trophies for nostalgia. This facilitates reflections on how work was or ought to be and so in turn who or ‘what I am’ or 'who I was'. Theoretically, this enables us to extend the nexus of materiality and work and materiality and everyday life over both time and place.",
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Work(ing) artefacts : tools of the trade, totems or trophies? / Baum, Tom; Robinson, Richard.

In: Human Relations, 08.08.2018, p. 1-44.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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