Allison Pugh, author of The Last Human Job, in conversation with Carolyn Hax

Photo credit on right: Corinna Raznikov Photography

Porter Square Books is delighted to welcome Allison Pugh for the release of her book The Last Human Job! Carolyn Hax will join Pugh in conversation. This event will take place on Friday, May 24 at 7pm at Porter Square Books (25 White St. Cambridge, MA 02140).

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With the rapid development of artificial intelligence and labor-saving technologies like self-checkouts and automated factories, the future of work has never been more uncertain, and even jobs requiring high levels of human interaction are no longer safe. The Last Human Job explores the human connections that underlie our work, arguing that what people do for each other in these settings is valuable and worth preserving.

Drawing on in-depth interviews and observations with people in a broad range of professions—from physicians, teachers, and coaches to chaplains, therapists, caregivers, and hairdressers—Allison Pugh develops the concept of “connective labor,” a kind of work that relies on empathy, the spontaneity of human contact, and a mutual recognition of each other’s humanity. The threats to connective labor are not only those posed by advances in AI or apps; Pugh demonstrates how profit-driven campaigns imposing industrial logic shrink the time for workers to connect, enforce new priorities of data and metrics, and introduce standardized practices that hinder our ability to truly see each other. She concludes with profiles of organizations where connective labor thrives, offering practical steps for building a social architecture that works.

Vividly illustrating how connective labor enriches the lives of individuals and binds our communities together, The Last Human Job is a compelling argument for us to recognize, value, and protect humane work in an increasingly automated and disconnected world.


Allison Pugh is professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity and Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture. Her writing has appeared in leading publications such as The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the New Republic.

Carolyn Hax writes a daily advice column for The Washington Post and over 100 newspapers in syndication. Carolyn started her column in 1997, after five years in editing roles at The Post and zero time as a therapist. She has a bachelor's in American history and literature from Harvard.

Event date: 

Friday, May 24, 2024 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

RSVP Form: 

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The Last Human Job: The Work of Connecting in a Disconnected World By Allison J. Pugh Cover Image
ISBN: 9780691240817
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Princeton University Press - June 4th, 2024


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