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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Kimberly Jamie

Musilek, K., Jamie, K. & McKie, L. (2020). Cold winds and warm attachments: Interrogating the personal attachment to neoliberal work and economy. Work, Employment & Society 34(3): 514-525.

Author(s) from Durham


The question of personal attachment to work in neoliberalism is subject to debate. Some scholars postulate that personal attachment to work based on durability, collectivity and predictability is weakening because of changes in its organisation; work ceases to provide the basis of subjectivity and identity. Conversely, others claim work, and neoliberal economic logic generally, pervades ever deeper into our lives, shapes our subjectivity, and incites personal and individualised attachments. This article describes four ways social scientists have understood personal attachments: entrepreneurship discourse; biocracy; approaches emphasising desire, lack and affect; and approaches highlighting the normative justifications and ethics of the self. It interrogates their theoretical underpinnings, empirical focus and points of confluence and difference.