Stress, Overwork, Alienation: Conference contribution to the 40th Conference of the German Sociological Association (DGS)

The congress of the German Sociological Association (DGS) will take place in Berlin between September 14 and 18 and is overwritten with the slogan “Society under Pressure” (Gesellschaft unter Spannung). Further information is also available on the conference website.

Our research cluster will contribute an ad-hoc group to the conference which is organised by the two project leaders Friedericke Hardering and Oliver Nachtwey.

Stress, Overwork, Alienation: New tensions and experiences of suffering in the digital working world

Current studies on the introduction of digital technologies in the work context show: digitisation processes are often perceived as increasing stress, intensifying work as well as creating challenges regarding boundary drawing. So far the consequences of digitisation for work and life satisfaction and employees health situation have been recorded. More recently, efforts have also been made to reconstruct experiences in the world of work as social suffering. This can be seen, for example, in the concept of alienation, which is taken up in various ways to describe unsuccessful processes of appropriation and experiences of suffering by employees.

The ad hoc group will investigate the question of how new experiences of suffering can be empirically captured in the context of the digitalised working world. Besides focussing on sociological categories such as stress and strain the added value of the concept of alienation for the understanding of experiences of suffering will be critically discussed.

This topic is particularly relevant because the digital transformation is driving changes triggering consequences for society that cannot yet be foreseen. In order to understand newly emerging lines of tension in society, it is essential to examine the various concepts of social suffering. 

Our ad hoc group focuses on the following questions:

  • Which experiences of suffering can be identified in the context of digitisation processes?
  • How can experiences of suffering be described for different fields of work?
  • How can alienation be captured or measured empirically?
  • Which newer phenomena in the digital working world are particularly suitable for a diagnosis of alienation?
  • Which understanding of digital technologies and the appropriation of digital work is connectable for diagnoses of alienation?

Further information on the speakers will follow here shortly.