Quantified Workers in Precarity- Conference and Two Books Launched

Like earlier forms of capitalism which taught workers to act like machines, the current wave of digitalised work, which includes tracking technologies, automation and surveillance, means that we work with and alongside machines and have even started to think like computers and to compete against them. Machines largely self-manage, do not complain, do not call in sick and do not make mistakes, but humans do all of these things.
Quantification, datafication and platformisation of work via new technologies introduce unprecedented possibilities for stress and a range of symptoms emerging from psychosocial violence (which management would also like to track).
The precarity of the modern worker is central to understanding the quantified self at work.
Precarity is the purest form of alienation where the worker loses all personal association with the labour she performs. She is dispossessed and location-less in her working life and all value is extracted from her in every aspect of life. Because precarious workers are constantly chasing the next ‘gig’, spatial and temporal consistency in life is largely out of reach.
Capital encourages universal communication and machinic devices appear to facilitate this communication within precarious conditions: but only in quantified terms. Thus, anything that cannot be quantified and profiled is rendered incommunicable – meaning it is marked and marginalized, disqualified as human capital, denied privilege, and precarious (Moore and Robinson 2015). Workers are compelled to squeeze every drop of labour-power from our bodies, including work that is seen, or work that has always been measured in Taylorist regimes; and increasingly, work that is unseen, such as attitudes, sentiments, affective and emotional labour.
What are the impacts of technological change and precarity on workers? What are we doing about it?

Keynote Speakers
Dr Phoebe Moore ‘The Quantified Self at Work, in Precarity’
Prof Rosalind Gill ‘The Quantified Selves of Academia’
Prof Martin Upchurch ‘Is a Robot after your Job?’


Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/quantified-workers-in-precarity-tickets-36442187564

Summer School 2017: Migration and Europe: borders, mobility and the future of the EU

The Summer Course is a joint effort of Middlesex University, the University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The course is designed to provide participants with an understanding of some major and interconnected issues concerning European migration and mobility. Specifically, the course is divided into five themes:

  1. The challenges to intra-EU mobility and the fragmentation of the European space
  2. Third country nationals: economic and legal perspectives in a reshaping Europe
  3. Refugees in Europe: new solutions or permanent crisis?
  4. Media and political discourses: mainstreaming xenophobia
  5. Rethinking the European space: the role of NGOs and civil society

These themes will be examined from a range of disciplinary perspectives including law, sociology and political science. Classes will be given by professors and professionals in the field of migration, citizenship and refugee studies from different European universities and organizations and will be complemented by practical exercises, discussions and research activities.

All classes will be in English. At the end of the course, participants will receive a certificate of participation (subject to attendance).

Contact hours: 30 hours
Course Language: English
Number of Students: 50 students max. (graduate, master and doctoral students)
The course will run subject to sufficient number of students.


Coordinators: Alessio D’Angelo; David Moya

Confirmed tutors: Brad Blitz; Anastasia Chirstou; Alessio D’Angelo; Janroj Keles; Eleonore Kofman; Nicola Montagna; David Moya; Laurent Pech; Alisa Petroff; Magali Peyrefitte; Rachel Seoighe.

Stakeholder Event: School Engagement and Youth Transitions. Findings of the RESL.eu project

Disseminating new findings from the project Reducing Early School Leaving in Europe (RESL.eu), our team from the  Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at Middlesex University and the University of Sheffield organised a half day event on the 9th of June 2017. The event brought together stakeholders, policy makers and researchers working on education and school-to-work transitions at a European, national and local level, with a focus on London.

Delegates were welcomed by MP Stephen Timms, followed by an introduction to the RESL.eu project by Prof Louise Ryan. The RESL.eu research team then presented some of the findings of their extensive research:

  • Dr Alessio D’Angelo and Neil Kaye: Preventing NEET by promoting engagement at school. Insights from a large-scale survey of young people in London
  • Prof Louise Ryan and Magdolna Lőrinc: The Opportunities and Challenges of Apprenticeships in England: alternative learning arenas or sites of exploitation

This was followed by a panel of young apprentices who took part in the research, then a round-table discussion on the Challenges of youth transition, youth unemployment and NEET with:

  • Yolande Burgess – London Councils
  • Peter Mathews – Ealing Connexions
  • Elaine Runswick – Barnet Council with Cambridge Education
  • Shelagh O’Connor – New Horizon Youth Centre
  • Mary Vine-Morris – Association of Colleges
  • Laura Walsh – YMCA

For the conference programme, follow this this link.


The project Reducing Early School Leaving in Europe (RESL.eu) sought to investigate the patterns of and underlining reasons behind young people’s disengagement from education and leaving school without qualifications. In so doing, we have undertaken 5 years of intensive research with young people, schools, colleges, parents, employers, local authorities, NGOs, national and international policy makers. We have identified a range of complex challenges facing young people today, but also the diverse array of intervention measures put in place to support them.

The event represents a key stage in the development of the ‘Stakeholders Engagement Platform’ of RESL.eu and allows the research team to identify ways in which their research findings can have wider impact by informing the work of national and local education practitioners and policymakers.



EVI-MED Conference 2017: Multiple crises? The many faces of migration and reception systems in the Mediterranean.

Between 2015 and 2016 more than one million people crossed the Mediterranean, Many fleeing war and persecution. The reception of refugees and migrants has been a major plank of EU policy. This event reports on the findings of the EVI-MED project, an 18 month study which seeks to map and evaluate reception systems in the Mediterranean.
Drawing upon survey data of 750 people in Greece, Italy, and Malta and interviews with migrants and a diverse range of national and international stakeholders, this event presents an independent systematic assessment of the ways in which the EU and its partners have sought to handle the reception of unprecedented numbers refugees and migrants and their responses.

To find out more about the project: https://evimedresearch.wordpress.com/

Evi-Med report: https://evimedresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/evi-med-first-report-final-16-june-2017.pdf


Kurdish Migration Conference 2017

Globalisation, Diaspora and Transnational Belonging

June 15-16, 2017, Middlesex University, London, UK

Following the success of the first international Kurdish migration conference (KMC) held in 2016 at Middlesex University (London) and the strong interest and participation by the international scholarly community, the 2nd KMC will be held at Middlesex University on 15 and 16 June 2017.


Programme and keynote speakers:

  • Professor Joshua Castellino (Middlesex University, London)
  • Dr Osten Wahlbeck (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Brexit: How Does it Affect You?

The initiative was organised by the SPRC in partnership with the Criminology&Sociology student society to help students better understand the possible effects of the United Kingdom decision to leave the
European Union. The event brought together academics from Law, Social Policy and Sociology.

IMISCOE Spring Conference 17th February 2017

The theme of the 2017 IMISCOE Spring Conference is the ‘Tyranny of Categories in Migration Policy, Research and Data Production’. It is based on the premise that categories form the backbone of policies through which they define the conditions of mobility and the concomitant set of entry, residence, economic and social rights as well orient research and data production.

States differentiate explicitly between categories of migrants and their provenance; they also differentiate explicitly and implicitly according to categories of analysis, such as gender, class, nationality, religion and ethnicity. The initial categorisation can subsequently facilitate or impede movement between categories. Hence we need to understand how states and other organisations, such as UNHCR, IOM or the European Union construct categories and how they apply them in the formulation of immigration and integration policies.
Categories developed in other sectors may also have implications for mobility and migration. Too often categories are presented as mutually exclusive eg. labour and family or as binaries eg. economic migrant/refugee; formal/informal; free/forced or mobility/migration without taking into account a continuum between categories. Being on one side of the binary may therefore open up or close off access to resources and support. Data production and collection too are shaped by the categories used and may serve to entrench them.
Of course categories are not static; they may change as a result of periods of debate, political change and economic crisis. Today in the face of an unprecedented number of refugees and the inability of European states to reach any common policy to share numbers, country of origin has become a key category for access to the asylum determination process and whether claims are justified or not, and if the latter, who is to be deported to countries deemed to be ‘safe’. Thus how people are placed into categories is significant, as is the way asylum seekers and migrants seek to negotiate and conform to specified categories.
At the same time, critical voices are seeking to open up and disrupt binaries and exclusive categories and demonstrate how they articulate with each other. Categories may change in response to campaigns or the state’s need for knowledge about designated populations. However it may be very difficult for researchers to challenge the prevailing categories underpinning policies and data production.

We hope therefore that this conference will help researchers and policy makers to understand the significance of categories and categorisations and their evolution in space and time in research, policy making and data production.

Eleonore Kofman
Chair of the Organizing Committee

Organizing Committee
Eleonore Kofman (Chair); Emine Acar; Alessio D’Angelo; Anastasia Christou; Olga Cretu; Janroj Keles; Helen McCarthy; Nicola Montagna; Magali Peyrefitte; Elisavet Tapini; Ben Brickley; Amy Ureta Cevallos; Estafania de Mello; Ines Fanlo Morales

Administrator: Christiana Rose

Thanks to Brian Coyne for granting us use of the cover image

Toolkit launch on 10 June 2016

Schooling in England: a toolkit for newly arrived migrant parents and practitioners working with migrants

The aim of this toolkit is to provide information and guidance to help migrant families and practitioners negotiate the school system and to suggest ways in which to support children settle into school and in progressing through primary school and the transition to secondary school.


1.00pm Registration and Lunch

1.30pm to 4.00pm Presentations