Allison J. Pugh — The Last Human Job: The Work of Connecting in a Disconnected World - with Nancy Bekavac — at Union Market

Upcoming Event
Saturday, June 8, 2024 - 5:00pm

With the rapid development of artificial intelligence and labor-saving technologies like self-checkouts and automated factories, the future of work has never been more uncertain, and even jobs requiring high levels of human interaction are no longer safe. The Last Human Job explores the human connections that underlie our work, arguing that what people do for each other in these settings is valuable and worth preserving.

Drawing on in-depth interviews and observations with people in a broad range of professions--from physicians, teachers, and coaches to chaplains, therapists, caregivers, and hairdressers--Allison Pugh develops the concept of "connective labor," a kind of work that relies on empathy, the spontaneity of human contact, and a mutual recognition of each other's humanity. The threats to connective labor are not only those posed by advances in AI or apps; Pugh demonstrates how profit-driven campaigns imposing industrial logic shrink the time for workers to connect, enforce new priorities of data and metrics, and introduce standardized practices that hinder our ability to truly see each other. She concludes with profiles of organizations where connective labor thrives, offering practical steps for building a social architecture that works.

Vividly illustrating how connective labor enriches the lives of individuals and binds our communities together, The Last Human Job is a compelling argument for us to recognize, value, and protect humane work in an increasingly automated and disconnected world.

Allison Pugh is professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity and Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture. Her writing has appeared in leading publications such as The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the New Republic.

Pugh will be in conversation with Nancy Y. Bekavac. Bekavac is President Emerita of Scripps College, Claremont, California, where she served as President from 1990 – 2007. She holds a BA from Swarthmore College and a JD from Yale University. Before going to Scripps, she was a law partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, Visiting Professor of Law at UCLA, Executive Director of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, and Counselor to the President of Dartmouth College. Throughout her career, she has taught law and law-related subjects to undergraduates, graduate students, and professional students, most recently teaching courses on Religion and the First Amendment, International Law, and Odysseus and the Western Hero for Semester at Sea. She resides in Washington, DC, and is currently Chair of the Board of the American University in Kosovo Foundation.

This event is free with first come, first serve seating.

1324 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
Union Market
Non Fiction
The Last Human Job: The Work of Connecting in a Disconnected World By Allison J. Pugh Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780691240817
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Princeton University Press - June 4th, 2024