CFP: Edited Book Volume: 'Loneliness and the Crisis of Work'

Submission deadline: May 30, 2020

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 Loneliness and the Crisis of Work

Guest Edited Book Volume 

(Cambridge Scholars Publishing) 

Reflecting on what role do the activities of work perform in human lives, it was Hannah Arendt, who linked work with the enterprise of world-building. Contrary to what Marx had hoped, one can also ask: is it possible to get rid of work in an ideal society? How does one understand the legitimacy of work? In the background of these concerns, the volume seeks to address the crisis of work/social labor and loneliness within contemporary capitalist work settings (with particular reference to academia) to understand new modes of domination, vulnerabilities, exclusion and meaninglessness in the present times.

In the context of work, the term ‘crisis’ subsumes a broad range of issues spanning from economics to ethics. Therefore, ‘Crisis’ is used in a plural sense here, which is not seen as an economic dysfunction of the society per se but also as a ‘lived crisis’ within social, political and cultural domains. Some of these lived experiences include the industry of precarious contractual positions, the speed-up culture of performance oriented academia under the market forces, the digitalization of intellectual work through videos/power-point accumulations as a cook book of teaching pedagogy, the failed possibilities of any effective political resistance, the regulatory environment of constant surveillance through regular appraisals, intellectual bullying within the academic circles, lack of care, and the existential anxiety/dread. There is an inadequacy in addressing these lived experiences of the crisis within the existing discourse on the matter. Further, we find that popular descriptors of the problem like ‘crisis’ and ‘social pathology’ are redundant as they fail to motivate any actual social and political critique, once they acquire a social standing. Consequently, we refer to the terms ‘crisis’ and ‘social pathology’ with a caution, since once we interpret our experiences as a crisis/pathology we end up attributing a normative meaning to it. 

Similarly, in this volume, we deliberately deviate from the narrow understanding of Loneliness as mere social pathology. The main reason for this divergence is that the idea of pathology in a general sense implies a converse state of ‘normalcy’ or a state, where there is no need of a treatment for a clearly specified problem. We approach Loneliness as a  problem that is not discovered by the critic based on a utopian vision of future social health but in a degenerating social/political system that is already showing objective signs of dysfunction in the present. Through such an approach, we also intend to consider how to interpret or diagnose loneliness as a suffering coming out of a dehumanizing experience at work spaces and the causes thereof. Social pathology is thus characterized by the fact that it cannot be properly diagnosed or treated at the level of the individual. It is associated with what Adorno calls, cases of domination (Beherrschung), which he later extends to his analysis of politics and society. 

The key thrust of the volume is to examine how the contemporary crisis/social pathologies can be seen as inseparable from domination and vulnerabilities in the first place so that some transformation can be brought about in the discourse concerning these issues, which sideline  any focus on these issues behind the veneer of stress management, psychiatric treatment and counseling as the only form of available care.  

We invite original philosophical contributions on any aspect(s) related to these concerns.  The book aims to bring out a genuine exchange on these concerns. Some of the possible themes may include, but are not limited to:  

Work and World-building 

Animal Laborans and Bare Life 

Social pathology as medical diagnosis 

Legitimation Crisis of work and Capitalism 

Normative Dimensions of Work  

Loneliness and Agency 

Appearance and Loneliness 

Social Processes of Superfluity 

Precarity of Work and Care 

Crisis of Critique and academic labor 

Intellectual Labor as Performance 

Please submit an abstract up to 100-250 words, with 6-7 keywords and a short CV by 30th May, 2020 to CrisisofWork@gmail.com. Alternatively, you may also submit an abstract at the Publishers’ website by completing the submission form in the following link: https://www.cambridgescholars.com/edited_collections/loneliness-crisis-of-work-chapter-submission.docx .

 An invitation and the publishers’ contract to submit detailed papers will be sent out by mid-June, 2020. The anthology is commissioned to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The Guest editor for the Volume is Dr. Pritika Nehra.  

If accepted, you would be asked to submit a chapter. A Chapter should normally be no longer than 6000 words, and should be original and previously unpublished. If the work has already been published (as a journal article, or in conference proceedings, for example), the Publisher will require evidence that permission to be re-published has been granted.

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