A Postphenomenological Perspective On the Changing Nature of Work
In this essay, I take a postphenomenological perspective on tracing work transformation during the pandemic, arguing that this perspective helps develop novel sensitivities to the nature of work. Postphenomenology brings into high relief the view on work as reliant on sensory performances and embodied relations, complementing already rich accounts of work being reliant on discursive interactions, social order, and spatiality. The focus of postphenomenology on ‘non-neutrality’ and the multistability of technology provides a useful lens for revealing a multiplicity of changes, encompassing both augmentations and reductions of work experiences and evaluating their consequences for the actors involved. Finally, its attention to the transparency of technology amidst the embodied experiences gives a handle on the role of materiality in the performance of work and may be taken up as informing design efforts. A case study vignette of physiotherapy work during lockdown is offered as an illustration of applying some of the postphenomenological ideas.