Centre for the Study of Working Lives

The multidisciplinary Centre for the Study of Working Lives is based in and co-ordinated by the Organization Theory, Behaviour and Technology Group in The York Management School at the University of York, UK. The Centre’s main purpose is to further the understanding of the different human subjective experiences of work in contemporary and historical societies, through developing concepts and theory and the critical analysis of qualitative data.

We conduct inquiries across a range of industries, occupations and levels. Our work focuses on everyday life - on affect and on the connections and permeable boundaries between different domains, such as work/leisure/play or public/private/personal.  We seek to bridge the humanities and social sciences by deploying qualitative methodologies, particularly ethnography.

We also explore and develop new methodologies and combinations of methods, especially those drawn from the arts, to better study its respective fields creatively. We actively disseminate our work through a variety of media and channels – work from the Centre has recently been reported in the New York Times, Time magazine and has featured and won awards in documentary film festivals in Europe, North America and Australia.

We welcome and are open to all members of University departments with an interest in the affective aspects of work to discuss their research, share their on-going projects and develop collaborations that will lead to multidisciplinary funding opportunities. We also act as a point of contact for organisations, professional associations, and the general public and media seeking expert advice or informed comment on developments in contemporary working life, and disseminate the results of this research.

Our Purpose

The main purpose of the Centre is to further the understanding of different human subjective and collective experiences of work in contemporary and historical societies, both by developing concepts and theory and the critical analysis of qualitative data. It provides a vehicle for all departments with an interest in the affective aspects of work to discuss their research, share their ongoing projects, and develop collaborations that will lead to multidisciplinary funding opportunities. The Centre also provides a point of contact for organizations, professional associations, the general public and the media seeking expert advice or informed comment on developments in working life, and will arrange dissemination of its research to maximize its impact.