Dr Harry Pitts

PhD, MRes, MA, BA Hons

  • BS8 1SD

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a political economist and critical theorist in the Work, Employment, Organisation & Public Policy group at University of Bristol School of Management, where I am Theme Champion for Work Futures and direct the BSc programme in Economics & Management. My research explores the organisation of digital futures at work. Within the Faculty of Social Sciences & Law, I lead the Faculty Research Group for Perspectives on Work and co-edit the Bristol University Press online magazine Futures of Work. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Society of Arts, and an Associate of the Economic & Social Research Council Digital Futures at Work Research Centre. I hold a PhD in Social & Policy Sciences from the University of Bath, and Masters degrees in Global Political Economy and Critical Global Politics from the University of Bath and University of Exeter, and have held research positions at the University of West of England and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

My research dissects how managers, workers, activists, policymakers, politicians and intellectuals understand, critique and organise the futures of work, capitalism and economic life. I investigate how different conceptions of value and the global political economy structure a range of phenomena including how firms measure productivity and price out jobs, how left movements and parties approach domestic and foreign policy, and how popular and academic imaginaries understand the futures of work. My theoretical contribution to these debates is represented in four books. Critiquing Capitalism Today: New Ways to Read Marx (Palgrave, 2017) charts Marxist understandings of economic crisis and workplace change. Corbynism: A Critical Approach (Emerald, 2018, with Matt Bolton) applies these ideas in a critical analysis of how contemporary left policymaking comprehends global political economy. Value(Polity, 2020) uncovers the foundations of the notions of value that underpin contemporary political and economic life. A World Beyond Work? Labour, Money and the Capitalist State Between Crisis and Utopia(Emerald, 2021, with Ana Dinerstein) interrogates how these underpinning notions structure expectations of the future of work.

My critical commentary on left policymaking and political economy has been widely covered in media outlets including the Guardian, the Times, the Economist and the Financial Times. Recent work has been addressed to debates in the British Labour Party. With Jon Cruddas, I edited a special issue of Political Quarterly convening a dialogue between a range of voices from academia and politics on “Postcapitalism and the Politics of Work”. This was launched with a Bristol Festival of Ideas panel event featuring Lisa Nandy and Paul Mason as part of the Economic & Social Research Council Festival of Social Science. With Paul Thompson, I co-authored the Open Labour and Labour Campaign for International Development pamphlet A Progressive Foreign Policy for New Times, launched with a panel event featuring Lisa Nandy and Waad al-Kataeb, director of the Emmy award-winning documentary For Sama.

Publishing in leading journals like Organization, Economy & Society and R&D Management, my empirical work has mainly focused on the digital and creative industries as a site of study, examining how labour, time and value are measured and managed in agencies, aswell as how freelancers organise in settings such as coworking spaces and cooperatives. I am currently Principal Investigator on the ESRC Digit Innovation Fund project “Co-working spaces and the urban ecosystem: the future of co-working post-Covid-19”. In my research and engagement activities I have worked with a range of private, public and third sector partners including Amazon, Vodafone, the West of England Combined Authority, Smith & Williamson, Burges Salmon, Unite the Union, the Global Labour Institute, Creative England, the Port of Bristol, Toynbee Hall and Tower Hamlets Council.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • PolicyBristolBusinessAndEconomicPolicy
  • PolicyBristolGlobalPoliticalEconomy
  • Perspectives on Work
  • Cultural Work
  • Global Political Economy

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