Labour discipline in a Christian Orthodox sisterhood in Russia
This article discusses the issue of labour discipline in a Christian Orthodox organisation in Russia. The sisterhood which I analyse is the meeting point of two types of ‘work’: the ‘secular work’ of employed workers is embedded into the ‘religious work’ of the sisters who live a monastic life. I argue that the religious–economic mix of the sisterhood suggests that three employment models are evident: ‘work more, get less’, ‘work less, get more’ and ‘work for free’. Religious and economic spheres are mediated by labour which takes different forms, creating distinct, but related disciplinary labour spaces. I thread the concept of discipline through religious and economic discourses in the monastic workplace, the conflicts between the religious and economic motivations to work and the role of ‘emotional work’. The analysis is based on the participant observation, conducted over a period of four months while I was a staff member of the sisterhood.