It Ain’t Working: A Workshop on Alternative Approaches to Work

November 9, 2023 - November 10, 2023
Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, University of Groningen



Humboldt-University, Berlin


University of Groningen
University of Groningen

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One of the lessons that we can draw from the global Covid pandemic is that we need to reimagine the way our societies organize work. It has become overwhelmingly clear how unsatisfactory our social organization of labour is and how pressing the need to transform it is. Some of the most essential jobs in our societies are underpaid and undervalued, and the distribution of work between individuals of different classes, genders, and races remains highly unequal. After the ‘great resignation’, with millions of people reconsidering their life- work balance and quitting their jobs, it seems as if we are finally at a point to rethink our relation to work and the social organization of it.

Doing so, however, raises important philosophical questions: What is work in the first place? Who counts as a worker and who does not? Under which social conditions and sets of relations should labour occur and what should be its purpose? How can labour retain its social value and its fulfilling potential for individuals? How should it be organized so that it is compatible with the requirements of democracy, sustainability, and freedom? And how can the expansion of our vision on work broaden our understanding of the political struggles around it and the normative commitments of our theorizing?

This workshop aims at bringing together scholars working on these topics and invites the submission of papers that challenge traditional understandings of work. We particularly encourage submissions from non-Western, feminist, and environmentally-oriented approaches.

Please submit abstracts (400 words max.) prepared for anonymous review here: The deadline for applications is July 9th 2023. Decisions will follow by the end of July. 

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