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WES Online Series: Meaningful Work in the Digital Economy

4-6 September 2024

About the Event

BSA Journal Work, Employment and Society (WES) is hosting a series of three interactive online events linked to the theme of meaningful work in the digital economy on the 4-6 September 2024.

  • Katie Bailey, Knut Laaser, Marjo Lips Wiersma - Theory of meaningful work: This session will engage with the different perspectives on how to conceptualise the topic of meaningful work. All speakers in this session will address theorising the concept of ‘meaningful work’, drawing on their published work in this area.
  • Jason Arday, Shoba Arun, Sara Farris - Meaningfulness and intersectionality: This session will explore different experiences of meaningfulness, and examine the topic from diverse perspectives. Shoba Arun will speak to the relevance of intersectional experiences for meaningful work outcomes of women from and in the Global South. Jason Arday will address meaningful work in relation to intersectionality in education. Sara Farris will discuss meaningful care work and intersectionality in the context of the growing recruitment of migrant women from the Global South to fill in the labour shortages in care homes.
  • James Farrar, Ursula Huws, Valeria Pulignano - Meaningfulness in the context of the platform economy: In this session James Farrar from the Worker Information Exchange will discuss meaningful information and his work around protections against ‘Robofiring’, rights to access our data and understanding how to navigate algorithmic control. Ursula Huws will speak about meaningful care in the context of the rapid rise of health platforms and the consequences for clinical services and clinicians. Valeria Pulignano will engage with the idea of meaningful professions, looking at the European experiences of freelance work and the role of skills in navigating platformized professions.

Take a look at the speaker biographies.

Each event will have short presentations by our speakers followed by a facilitated discussion to encourage a rich dialogue and exchange of ideas.

As digital technologies are significantly reshaping the character of many jobs while blurring the work/nonwork boundary and introducing the automation and digitalisation of work across multiple sectors and professions - now is an opportune time to revisit the concept of meaningful work.

The extent to which work is experienced as meaningful is a topic of historical and ongoing interest in the domain of the sociology of work. While meaningful work is of interest to sociologists of work, there is a lack of consensus on how it is conceptualised and how we might achieve it placing different emphases on its subjective and objective dimensions.

When work is experienced as meaningful, due to the sense of purpose it can provide people, or the creativity that some forms of work can involve, work can be perceived as rewarding. Conversely, when work is not perceived as meaningful, often in Taylorised work environments including the professions, where work is repetitive and low skilled, the experience of work can be deeply alienating. As platformization unfolds across public and private sectors we are starting to see its consequences on our states of mind.

Join WES for a lively discussion of meaningful work from theory through real world consequence.


  • BSA Member: £10
  • Non-member: £15
  • BSA Concessionary Member: FREE

Contact Us

For any questions or enquiries about the conference, please contact the BSA Events Team.