bs jobs at lse

dec 10 2021 – (80 min video) – David Graeber LSE Anthropology Tribute seminar on ‘Bullshit Jobs’ – with Mao Mollona (@GoldAnth)(Goldsmiths Senior Lecturer Anthropology) and Andrew Sanchez (@cusas2004)(Cambridge Associate Professor Anthropology)

bullshit jobs by david graeber at lse (part of lse graeber series)

notes/quotes from video:

mao: (on summary of book) on bs vs shit jobs –

17 min – mao: david’s emphasis is on satisfaction

27 min – andrew: (on counter to book) on committees playing too substantial role in uni life.. 20+.. not the satisfying, curious life i thought i was getting into.. ie: committee for membership of committees.. wasting time on tasks that are not worth doing.. ‘c has given us these jobs to keep us all busy’ – dg

29 min – andrew: david proven correct during pandemic.. those we needed most getting paid least.. couldn’t quit working.. his essay made me question why we do what we do.. it was destabilizing.. showed the possibility for change..

30 min – andrew: ‘if enough people smash them (windows of jewelry stores to keep you out) they are no longer’ – dg

32 min – andrew: 1\ bs tasks.. problem w book was survey technique.. ie: even if bs job to person might matter to others.. model doesn’t grapple w fact that no necessary consistency of bs jobs in time.. ie: satisfaction all the time.. that’s not true to life.. on bs jobs becoming transformative.. better to say bs tasks than bs jobs.. not really a category of bs jobs.. and no evidence bs jobs meant to keep people busy et al

36 min – andrew: 2\ capitalism doesn’t have a committee.. population in c society had nothing to do.. so gave bs jobs.. not true.. neolib is a tech of govt but still no committee.. neo lib actors might sometimes feel they’re doing good in the world.. core motivation of c: profit.. plenty of people in c world have not been given bs jobs.. ie: where i grew up.. some got into trouble.. but the committee was untroubled by that possibility.. others.. like me.. who became radicals.. there are just enough too many people left behind by bs job committee.. that it doesn’t make any sense.. mistaken to not recognize those populations as sources of econ value for c.. (prison industrial system) turns out those allegedly dangerous jobs are worth it to some.. c immune to the troulbe those pop’s may cause.. and finds those pop’s to be useful to exploitation and value


42 min – andrew: 3\ what isn’t bs.. graeber’s rests on theory of value.. but not quite right.. trained at wrong level of human action.. ie: ability to care just one expression of wider ability to transform the world.. on fallacies of satisfaction ness.. people like work that challenges them to alter something .. some people might enjoy impactful things that harm others.. not restricted to making contribution to life

44 min – andrew: many jobs i’d find pointless but others don’t.. because the’ve found meaningful transformative dimension.. and realize many people to it and over time.. ie: trade stocks et al.. daily grind of bs tasks doesn’t necessarily translate into a wholly bs job

45 min – andrew: in conclusion.. i think bs jobs is basically wrong.. but i like that a book like this exists.. i wish there were more.. anthro often mired in citations and pedestrianism.. and pretentious theorizing.. we’re a discipline that struggles to say things that are original.. bs is imaginative.. bs is like a person speaking to you as if you’d just met at a party.. that’s what i like.. the humanity aspect.. a person that cares about things that might care to others.. he made you think.. invariably about something really important.. and that’s what i think an academic should be for..

1:03 – andrew: bs jobs in relation to graeber’s work.. completely diff to ie: value book.. i don’t see that as problematic.. when it came out a lot of people didn’t like it.. snobbery.. i think you should have a license to play around w the form of writing and data collection.. but.. to me.. long term contribution of book.. it inspired people around the world to look at something they already knew.. consciousness building..

1:13 – andrew: out of pandemic.. whole section of labor population who at one point have said their job was bs.. now told valuable

hmm.. i don’t think that’s how david defined it.. he always said those that cared for people.. not bs jobs.. just not paid..


also massimiliano mollona .. bs jobs at lse in feb 2022




lse graeber series