In publica commoda

On 1st of October 2014, Nicole Mayer-Ahuja will join the University of Goettingen as Professor of Sociology (with a focus on work, companies, and economy). During the last years, she was Professor of labour sociology at the Department of Socio-Economics, University of Hamburg (the former University for Economics and Politics, HWP). Before that, Mayer-Ahuja was working at the Sociological Research Institute (SOFI) Goettingen, as a researcher and later as a director.

Her teaching focuses on work and employment, in relation to economics, politics, and society, with an emphasis on changes over time as well as on transnational perspectives. As far as research is concerned, Mayer-Ahuja has conducted projects on various forms of work. In the monograph "The return of the servant" ("Wieder dienen lernen?", 2003), she has analysed the making of precarious employment among women in the Western German cleaning trade (since 1973). As a member of the collaborative project "The erosion and re-establishment of boundaries in the world of work", she has analysed (with Harald Wolf) changes in the organisation and control of work in German Internet companies after the euphoria about a "New Economy"had come to an end (2005). In her study on transnational project work in Indo-German software companies (in cooperation with Patrick Feuerstein), the utilisation of labour power on the shopfloor was analysed as resulting from complex interrelations between transnational corporate strategies on the one hand and localised scenarios of regulating the reproduction of labour power in these two countries on the other hand. The German monograph was published in 2011, an English translation ("Everywhere is becoming the same?" is forthcoming in September 2014 (Social Science Press, New Delhi).

Currently, Mayer-Ahuja is in charge of the cooperative project "'Good work' after the boom", which brings together sociologists, historians, and IT-scientists in an attempt to promote the secondary analysis of interviews with employees and the unemployed, which had been conducted at SOFI since around 1970. In several empirical sub-projects, the researchers strive towards analysing those changes that are usually considered as indicating a transition to "Post-Fordism", in an analytically more satisfactory manner, by way of applying new, IT-based methods and tools (e-Humanities). Mayer-Ahuja's next project, which is currently under preparation, will focus on informal work in the field of subcontracting, again exploring the analytical potential of transnational perspectives.