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Inaugural lecture Prof J. (Jessica) de Bloom: Time is honey

When:Fr 28-06-2024 16:15 - 17:00
Where:Aula Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

On Friday, 28 June, Prof. Jessica de Bloom will deliver her inaugural lecture for the Aletta Jacobs Chair in Human Resource Management, Occupational Health, and Wellbeing. In this lecture, she will describe four challenges of modern work: meaning, workload, burnout and flexibility. She will address questions such as: Why do we frame leisure time as “recovery from work”? Does this imply that leisure should serve work? Can we even distinguish between work and leisure in lives in which work is no longer confined to a specific time or place?

More freedom, more workload

While working conditions have drastically improved for most workers over the past centuries, with increased autonomy and flexibility in time and space, somewhat paradoxically, workload and burnout are on the rise. De Bloom argues that the modern quest for meaning and freedom can lead to exploitation, exhaustion, and erosion of community.

Using many examples from the academic working context, she suggests that neoliberal worldviews and a fixation on individual freedom at the expense of people’s social nature are a core reason for today’s workplace problems. More specifically, freedom became a guiding principle of society, forcing the individual to organize their life according to rational, economic principles of efficiency and become “entrepreneurs of the self” (see also Foucault´s lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979). For sustainable working lives, de Bloom argues that we need to shift the attention to the collective and the social basis of autonomy.  

A new concept for autonomy

In her future work, Prof. de Bloom aims to contribute to a new conceptualization of autonomy which adequately reflects both the social and the individual nature of human beings.  She contends that research and society need to rethink the idea of leisure serving work, and work time as an indicator of productivity. Her vision is for a post-work society where people are seen as holistic beings, with lives outside of paid jobs that deserve attention and are valuable to society.

More information

Inaugural lecture: Prof J. (Jessica) de Bloom

  • Title: Time is honey
  • Chair: Human Resource Management, Occupational Health and Wellbeing
  • Faculty: Economics and Business

Registration at the latest 21 June via the registration form

Livestream on 28 June, see:

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