Are people working in digital economies experiencing nostalgia for the “good life” of previous decades? What can we make of tensions between visions of “the end of work” and “life after work”? Join us for a seminar with Alessandro Gandini (King’s College London) where he’ll be previewing new research on nostalgia and digital capitalism.

The good life after work? Nostalgia and digital capitalism – Alessandro Gandini (King’s College London)

In the aftermath of World War II, Western societies experienced an unprecedented period of economic flourishing and societal advancement. At its core, the bedrock of that period was the availability of ‘jobs for life’, that became the precondition to living a ‘good life’ – with consumption being a means to social mobility.

However, the digital economy is emerging in the aftermath of decades of neoliberal policies of flexibilization, individualization and precarisation of work that undermined the stability of employment, and after a decade of economic recession. In this shift, the expectation of ‘jobs for life’ has largely vanished and the ideal of the “good life” has entered a (perhaps terminal) crisis. A hegemonic ‘nostalgic’ sentiment has, on the contrary, emerged – epitomised by the Brexit vote, the rise of Donald Trump and, more recently, the Italian election – around the difficulty to let go of the ideal of the ‘good life’.

Liaising with the ongoing debate on ‘post-work’ and ‘the future of work’, the talk will discuss the ‘good life’ after work. The talk will also feature findings from a questionnaire on this topic, distributed across November and December 2017 to 19-25 year old university students in London and Milan.

Bio: Alessandro Gandini (@afrontiercity) is a sociologist working as a lecturer in the department of Digital Humanities, King’s College, London. His research interests include the transformation of work, social relations and research methods in the digital society. He is the author of The Reputation Economy (Palgrave, 2016), the co-author of Qualitative Research in Digital Environments (Routledge, 2017) and a co- editor of Unboxing the Sharing Economy, part of The Sociological Review Monograph Series (2018).

This event is part of an ongoing seminar series on “critical inquiry with and about the digital” hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. If you tweet about the event you can use the #kingsdh hashtag or mention @kingsdh. If you’d like to get notifications of future events you can sign up to this mailing list.



Date and time

Wed 21 November, 2018



Room S2.08, Strand Building
Strand Campus
King’s College London


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