Contemporary global developments in work and employment are transforming labour and reshaping relations between workers, creating new webs of interconnection across the world. This research programme aims to radically revise the foundational concept of the division of labour , by situating traditional understandings of the technical allocation of tasks within an expanded theoretical framework. Two additional dimensions of differentiation and interdependency of work activities are proposed, namely across socio-economic modes (market, non-market, etc.) and across the economic processes of production, distribution, exchange, and preparation for consumption. The approach will be developed by opening up a new research terrain of consumption work : all work undertaken by consumers necessary for the purchase, use, re-use and disposal of consumption goods. The work of consumers is shaped by its interdependency with that of providers, and vice versa, so providing a key to route to understanding the overall dynamics and variety of changing worlds of work. Three contrasting empirical probes are chosen for the questions each raises about consumption work and its increasing socio-economic importance: domestic broadband installation, food preparation and household recycling of waste. Analysis will centre for each on the varying nature of the interface and interaction between consumption work and systems of provision in five comparator countries (UK, Sweden, France, Taiwan, Korea) selected for their contrasting socio-economies. The research programme is global, comparative and historical, making a significant scientific and policy contribution, by advancing comprehension of key processes of ongoing socio-economic change, and establishing consumption work as a new field of enquiry.
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