Untimely Sacrifices: Work and Death in Finland
In Untimely Sacrifices (Cornell, 2023), Daena Funahashi (Anthropology) questions why individuals may give their time and energy to the collective against their own self-interest. Turning to Finland — where public health officials named occupational burnout a "new hazard" of the new economy — Funahashi asks what moves people to work to the point of pathological stress.
Contrary to health experts who highlight the importance of self-management and energetic conservation, Funahashi questions the very economic premise of cognitive psychology that one could "economize" one's energy and thus save oneself. By pitting anthropological takes on sacrifice against clinical discourses on pressure, work, and coping, Funahashi offers ways to rethink what drives stress.
Untimely Sacrifices also provides a critique of state welfare and political economy, contesting the tendency to treat the gift economy as something separate from the force that makes redistributive mechanisms of state welfare work. It is a book essential to those interested in how forces unassimilable to conventional economy come to matter in issues of labor, stress, and welfare.
Funahashi is joined by C.D. Blanton (English). After a brief discussion, they respond to questions from the audience.