This panel explores the ongoing existential dynamics of what kind of a life one can or cannot lead, as manifest through the domains of work, money, and fantasy. Papers will illustrate how different modes of temporality unite these fields as a constellation - from routines to daydreams to life plans.
Around the world people of all walks of life plug away at jobs and means of earning money - some meticulously strategized through years of preparation, some stumbled upon through chance or spontaneity. Simultaneous to the conditions people finds themselves in, many envisage alternative worlds or improved situations and ponder the counter-factual of routes not taken. This panel invites ethnographic approaches that appreciate the existential dynamics underlying peoples' relationships with work and money. As people apply themselves to means of income, while coordinating responsibilities and social ties, they may fantasize and variously contemplate the past or future. Work, money, and fantasy hence operate as a nexus, nestled within the routines and rituals of daily lives. Papers may address such themes as: constructions of the life course; transitions out of education; labour migration; aspiration and imagined futures; inner speech and affect; job dissatisfaction and changes in career; un/under-employment; caring responsibilities; schedules and escapism; debts, pensions, and investments - including emergent forms and their associated reveries such as cryptocurrencies. The conference theme will be articulated through approaches that examine the social, material, and symbolic on the one hand, and the imaginations and desires that such conditions evoke on the other (Strauss, 2006; Irving, 2017). The panel explores these dynamics as constellational through the over-arching theme of temporality - from the minutiae of daydreams and shifts in mood, to weekly or seasonal cycles, to inter-generational dynamics and imaginations of the life course through the lens of work or money.