Occupying Occupations

The occupation of one’s place of work has long been a central figure of labor and livelihood movements: though instances of workplace occupation are relatively rare and their durations brief, they have had a disproportionate imaginative impact. This essay considers the imaginative lineaments of workplace occupations—from the factory occupations of 1917–19 to the worker occupations of the Great Recession after 2008—focusing on the ways they have figured worlds turned upside down, redrawn divisions of labor, inverted spaces of work and daily life, and mapped economies of “solidarity.”