The Strange Temporalities of Work-Life Balance Law

Emily Grabham

Abstract


This research paper is part of a broader project on law and time. I am in the midst of studying the time-related concepts and assumptions that structure some of the key initiatives in the area of equalities regulation in the UK over the past two decades. Time fulfils certain legal and political functions in equalities law and policy, establishing the parameters through which a person might claim a legal identity in order to argue a discrimination case, for example, or providing a paradigm for thinking about the allocation of care responsibilities. Yet, far from merely tracing how legal concepts and communities symbolise time, or how they use temporal concepts in their world-making features, I am also interested in the materialisation of time and interconnections between time, matter, form and objects in the making of law. Key temporalities within work-life balance law - balance, equilibrium and flexibility, for example - therefore become amenable to inquiry through the actions of documents and documentary practices, administrative forms and the form of law itself in materialising time alongside and in relationship with human legal subjects. As Michel Serres puts it: 'Time doesn't flow; it percolates' (Latour and Serres, 1995, 58). With this in mind we might ask: how has work-life balance percolated? What role have human and non-human legal actors played in confabulating this temporal form?

Keywords


temporality; time; work-life balance; materiality; Latour; Serres

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