Contemporary work is underpinned by the operation of the work ethic and, most particularly, by the moral assumption that idle time is wasted time. In this chapter, Gerrard offers a fresh account of time and the work ethic through detailed investigation of the precarious work undertaken by homeless street press sellers in Melbourne, San Francisco and London. First, against the backdrop of profound poverty and unemployment, Gerrard demonstrates the importance of homeless street press for generating income and creating opportunities to engage in work. Nevertheless, whilst additional income is greatly appreciated, it far from enables sellers to move out of poverty. Second, drawing from Melbourne sellers’ photographs of a ‘typical day’s work’, Gerrard investigates the everyday routines that characterise homeless street press sellers’ working days.
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