Work(ing) artefacts : tools of the trade, totems or trophies?

Robinson, Richard NS and Baum, Tom (2020) Work(ing) artefacts : tools of the trade, totems or trophies? Human Relations, 73 (2). pp. 165-189. ISSN 0018-7267 (

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Do workplace artefacts have utility for their custodians beyond the workplace context? A new materiality perspective allowed the conversation to move beyond the parameters of the organisation and into the private spheres of both practicing and retired para-professionals. In this study of chefs, we discover the deliberate acquisition of occupational artefacts beyond their organisational utility. These artefacts betray a post-occupational identity deeply revelatory of materiality. We ask in what ways are these artefacts symbolic, or totemic? Findings provide fresh insights into how artefacts are mobilised as reverent ‘working’ objects, as totems and trophies for nostalgia. This facilitates reflections on how work was or ought to be, and so in turn who or ‘what I am’ or ‘who I was’. Theoretically, this enables us to extend the nexus of materiality and work and materiality and everyday life over both time and place.