'Better Stop Chatting and Get Back to Work': Knowing One's Place and Hot Desks in Non-Clinical Areas of the NHS

Attala, Luci (2022) 'Better Stop Chatting and Get Back to Work': Knowing One's Place and Hot Desks in Non-Clinical Areas of the NHS. Etnofoor, 34 (1). pp. 71-89. ISSN 09215158

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Abstract

Workplaces are designed with work in mind. According to Weeks (2011), places of work are spaces of command, obedience, and obligation that make relations of power and authority tangible. This article considers the experience of moving from tethered to open-plan hot-desk offices by exploring the difference between what hotdesks signal and what they do. Using the example of hot-desks in a non-clinical National Health Service (NHS) setting in Britain, it demonstrates how employees resist the homogeneity and equality implied by hotdesks and hold tightly to how they imagine their work identities should perform within a hierarchical habitus of work (Bourdieu 1977). Thus, it shows that workers need work to reproduce the naturalised notions of what work is thought to be, and when challenged to adoptalternative methods use moralising arguments and subtle acts of resistance (Foucault 1991; Scott 1992) to perpetuate and redeploy hierarchies. Consequently, the fundamental and dominant values and methods associated with how and where to work are exposed as comfortable through familiarity, and, therefore, despite irritations people not only want to know their place but also want that place to sit within a landscape that uses the conventional rules of the 'game' of work (Frayne 2015).

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Luci Attala
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2022 14:25
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 14:24
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/2073

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