The Passion Principle

Dartmouth Events

The Passion Principle

The Passion Principle: Self-Expressive Career Decisions and the Reproduction of Occupational Inequality Erin A. Cech, University of Michigan

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Carson L01
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

“Follow your passion” is a popular mantra for career decision-making in the United States.  The proposed book is the first scholarly treatment of this ubiquitous cultural narrative, which I call the “passion principle.” Drawing on a robust combination of qualitative, quantitative, and experimental data, The Passion Principle grounds this cultural schema in tensions between US capitalism and cultural norms of self-expression, describes its pervasiveness among the college educated and beyond, and explains why passion is such a seductive basis for career decisions. Although passion-seeking seems like a promising option for individuals who hope to avoid the potential drudgery and self-estrangement of a life of paid work, I argue that the passion principle has a dark side: it reinforces socio-economic disadvantages and occupational segregation in the aggregate.  It also helps reproduce an exploitative, overworked white collar labor force. Spurred by these findings, the book calls for reconsideration of how Americans think about good jobs and, by extension, good lives.

For more information, contact:
Laura Mitchell

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.