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Office (Object Lessons)


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Office as Space 2. The Office as Stockpile 3. The Office as Hierarchy 4. The End of the Office Acknowledgments Index

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On the cultural significance of the office-as an icon, as a space, and as a vanishing species in the 21st century.

About the Author

Sheila Liming is Associate Professor in the Writing program at Champlain College, USA, and author of What a Library Means to a Woman: Edith Wharton and the Will to Collect Books (2020).


While most of us are all too familiar with the computer screens and supply closets of our own offices, Sheila Liming reintroduces us - through literature, film, television, historical research, and personal memoir - to those other bureaucratic objects that define the office as a distinctive environment: from office plants and office parties to typing pools and networking clubs. In sparkling and witty prose, Liming diagrams the office's anatomy and social ecology as it has evolved from the mid-19th century to today - and as we reassess its relevance in a future defined by freelancing and social distancing. * Shannon Mattern, Professor of Anthropology, The New School, USA, and author of Code + Clay, Data + Dirt: 5000 Years of Urban Media *
Office is a feat of delightful prose and a suite of engrossing stories: a mini history of labor, architecture, and pop culture; a stirring analysis of social hierarchies; a smart study of physical spaces that is also a necessary critique of economic ideology. Liming's lithe book is unputdownable! * Anna Kornbluh, Associate Head and Associate Professor of English, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA, and author of Marxist Film Theory and Fight Club (Bloomsbury, 2019) *

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