About this project
In 1972, Studs Terkel published WORKING, a book that captures the oral history of what people do all day and how they feel about what they do.
In dialogue with Terkel’s book, DW Gibson has organized NOT WORKING, a project that will produce a book-length oral history (forthcoming from OR Books in 2012). The book will be accompanied by a film, which Gibson will produce with MJ Sieber.
Familiarity with Terkel’s WORKING will absolutely increase interest in this project, but it is by no means a prerequisite. NOT WORKING communicates on its own. It will provide the names and faces, the pulse of the Great American Recession.
For the summer of 2011, Gibson and Sieber are traveling across the US, beginning in Orange County, California, ending in New York City. Gibson will interview individuals who have lost their jobs because of the economic downturn over the last three years. (Interviews to date can be viewed here.)
Interviews will be centered on the exact moment when the job was lost, the conditions that led to that moment, and the consequences that followed. The moment-to-moment details rupture with emotion, tension, humor, and absolute horror. These close-ups are the essence of this project.
These are workers who have lost their jobs because of economic considerations. They have been let go by forces beyond their will, ability, and sense of commitment. They come from all levels of responsibility and income: hourly wage earners, executives, and every tax bracket in between.
Support for NOT WORKING will be used to fund the additional travel necessary to complete the interviews for the book, particularly to the southern region of the country. The funds will also be used to complete the massive amount of transcriptions that will be needed to generate much of the text for the book. As this is an oral history, it is vital that we are able to represent each interviewee's words precisely as they were spoken. The book can't be completed without these components, so we appreciate your vital support -- and we want to make sure that in raising funds, we also keep in mind those who have been most affected by the current economic situation.
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