Job Done: What Repair Does to Caretakers, Tenants and their Flats

Alain Bovet and Ignaz Strebel observe caretakers at work in Swiss residential buildings. They do so as video ethnographers and offer analytic insight into the local repair of damaged objects. In examining selected video clips, they focus on particular closures of caretaker interventions. This empirical focus allows them to qualify caretaker interventions in terms of the distinctive entanglements of social, technical, and material dimensions that the interventions themselves disclose and determine. When it comes to repairing a kitchen tap or an oven that play a central role in a tenant’s life, the caretaker does not only take into account the broken thing, its lacking “readiness-to-hand,” but also the irremediably modified viability of the repaired flat. Hence, repair work displays multiple temporalities and distinctive entanglements in situ.

More about the book


Bovet, A. and I. Strebel (2019) ‘Job Done: What Repair Does to Caretakers, Tenants and their Flats’, In I. Strebel, A. Bovet and P. Sormani (eds) Repair Work Ethnographies. Revisiting Breakdown, Relocating Materiality. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan


© Video still: I. Strebel