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Struggling to Manage Work as a Part of Everyday Life: Complicating Control, Rethinking Resistance, and Contextualizing Work/Life Studies

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In this paper, I suggest that we might further contextualize our understanding of how work and life are navigated by approaching it as a struggle through which control and resistance are accomplished as various meanings of work are negotiated. Drawing on ethnographic and interview data collected at a Swedish organization, I argue that a normative cultural expectation for lagom (moderation) functions both to control members and to enable them to resist managerial control. These findings suggest that by approaching control as potentially fragmented, resistance as unobtrusive, and work/life issues as situated, scholarship can illuminate how societies and organizations might equip individuals to successfully navigate work and life.

Keywords: Control; Culture; Power; Resistance; Work/life

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2011


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