Space for anarcho-feminist reflection: “Shitty jobs” •

The material we used to carry out this discussion was Chapter 1: “What is shitty work? (28 pages) from the book by David Graeber (2018): Shitty jobs. Barcelona, ​​Planet.

According to some surveys carried out from an article prior to the book and from the book itself on so-called “shit jobs”, the percentage of people who report having a job of these characteristics is around 40%. . The author understands by crap job “a job so meaningless, so useless or so pernicious that even the worker himself is not able to justify its existence, despite the fact that, within the framework of the conditions of employment, said worker feels obliged to pretend that he is not.”

One of the postulates of sociology is that the social structure of “developed” countries has improved in recent decades thanks to the rise of the most educated classes to the detriment of the working classes. According to these same surveys, the percentage of women with shitty jobs is 10% lower than that of men. Low-skilled jobs in care and services have not been reduced and are mainly held by women. The moral that work is a value in itself, that the harder it is the more valuable it is, means that useful jobs are valued less. As D. Graeber says, don’t complain about being poorly paid, you have to be happy to be able to have a job that is useful.

There is a big difference between “shit job” and “junk work”, the latter are jobs that usually involve necessary tasks and clearly benefit society, but the workers who perform them are often mistreated and poorly paid.


From these initial reflections we asked ourselves questions like these:

Could the new social classes be nurtured by people with shitty jobs, supported by the rest of society, and with material privileges that would make them likely to support the status quo?

Could we work 15 hours a week if bullshit jobs were abolished and the really necessary work was shared among all?

How do we change this morality that work is a value in itself that crushes us as people and destroys the planet?


What has been missing is that salaried work, hierarchical organization of work, monotonous/repetitive work in production lines, hyper-skilled jobs, and reproductive care work are not mentioned. is not explicitly criticized (which is the key to capitalism) is carried out mainly by women, without wages or with very low wages. Since this work is necessary, what is the degree of satisfaction of those who do it? However, Graeber argues that needed jobs can certainly be shared, which is an important argument for feminists.

It is commented that Graeber’s approach does not propose revolutionary change, but rather a bit of common sense within the system, which is why he does not question wage labor itself, but rather values ​​positively as long as it is productive. It is counter-argued that the classification of the types of work they perform is novel, centered not on their economic productivity, but on whether or not they are needed for the maintenance of life in society: care work (usually garbage) vs. crap. Care work is not only essential to capitalism, but it is also essential to life, and crap work is also essential to capitalism, but not to life. We agree that Graeber’s approach tries to overthrow the pillars of the capitalist system’s discourse based on people’s everyday experience, with a new discourse.

In the end, teleworking is introduced, and how it may affect the current system, opinions are very different: some are optimistic, and others are not.

Finally, let us emphasize that David Graeber has the merit of talking about a subject that is close to our hearts and of making us think.

Our mail: [email protected]


Cover image: Unwire – Creative Commons License

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