New configurations of work are emerging. Advanced through dynamics of componentization and disintermediation, these developments promise great hope and great risk for society. In sites such as Innocentive people can self-organize to solve vexing scientific challenges. Large-scale work production can be managed rapidly through micro-task labor at sites such as Mechanical Turk. These developments have the potential to liberate people from limiting and hard to secure organizational bounds while threatening to prompt de-skilling and hamper organizations' abilities to sustain innovative practice. Work has the potential to be both more widely assessable and creative, and more fragmented and cheapened. Ethnographers are especially well positioned to perceive the changing nature of work and its societal impact.