Melissa Jacquart
University of Cincinnati
Ann Cahill
Elon College
Empirical data show that members of underrepresented and historically marginalized groups in academia undertake many forms of undervalued or unnoticed labor. While the data help to identify that this labor exists, they do not provide a thick description of what the experience is like, nor do they offer a framework for understanding the different kinds of invisible labor that are being undertaken. We identify and analyze a distinct, undervalued, and invisible labor that the data have left unnamed and unmeasured: ontological labor, the work required to manage one’s identity and body if either or both do not fit into academic structures, norms, and demands. We argue that ontological labor efforts should be understood as a form of labor. We then provide a characterization of ontological labor, detailing the labor as navigating one’s obligations to give and managing entitlements to take. We also highlight the ontological labor that takes place through instances of resistance, such as through complaint or refusals.
Keywords Ontological Labor  Invisible Labor  Obligation to give  Entitlement to take
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5206/fpq/2020.1.7316
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,160
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.Kate Manne - 2017 - Oxford University Press.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Labor Markets.Andrzej Klimczuk - 2017 - In Bryan Turner (ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 1--5.
Mental Labor and its Creativity.Shingo Shibata - 1980 - Russian Studies in Philosophy 19 (3):38-51.
Sweatshops, Labor Rights, and Comparative Advantage.Gary Chartier - 2008 - Oregon Review of International Law 10 (1):149--188.
Linguistic Labor and its Division.Jeff Engelhardt - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1855-1871.
Surplus Labor and Crime.Dustin Garlitz - 2014 - In J. Mitchell Miller (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Theoretical Criminology. Wiley-Blackwell.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #748,906 of 2,454,812 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #225,739 of 2,454,812 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes