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What happens to the body during intellectual work?


Research into the body in the workplace has mainly focused on heavy industrial labour. Instead, Emilie Reinhold is interested in how the confined and sedentary bodies of office workers affect their health and well-being.

Emilie Reinhold

The Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI) at the School of Business, Economics and Law has an interdisciplinary focus, and is a perfect arena for Emilie Reinhold who moves in the borderlands between art, sociology, philosophy and business economics. With the Wallander Scholarship behind her, she can now concentrate on research, and she has a lot on the go.

“In my thesis, I studied employees at an investment bank. There was strict monitoring, with rules that did not just apply to clothing and behaviour, but also gestures and mimicking. This physical discipline was challenged with help from an artistic intervention, where employees had to improvise movements in front of the camera. This uncovered a number of interesting things. We are now building upon these discoveries, how lack of movement, and enclosure in both norms and clothing affect us,” says Emilie Reinhold.

The body’s economics

Emilie Reinhold is currently working with a number of articles on the subject. Amongst other things, she is writing about physical workplaces and why, despite all the technological possibilities, we cling to the office space. She is also looking at the connection between artistic performance and economics. Furthermore, she is also working on an essay about the body’s economics.

“It addresses the body as a closed and open system: transactions that take place and if we should actually strive after a balance. But this is more of a literary project”.

A wide open research environment

“GRI is an incredibly interesting, multidisciplinary and multicultural environment. You receive a wide range of comments when you present your work at seminars here. It is also evident that strong female researchers characterise the environment. As a researcher, I am more used to being more “outside”; shaking things up. I don’t need to do this here, and this is also slightly different,” says Emilie Reinhold.


Born in Paris to Swedish parents. Background in economics, philosophy, art and sociology. Obtained a doctorate in 2014 from Université Paris-Dauphine, with the thesis, Le corps organisé entre contrôle et débordement: Le cas des professions intellectuelles, about the body’s processes in a closed organisation.

This is an article from the School's Magazine 2017
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