CFP: Debating a Post-Work Future

Submission deadline: June 1, 2021

Topic areas


Work is widely perceived as being ‘in crisis’. The crisis in question is quantitative, with some working too much and others lacking access to sufficient work; qualitative, with work increasingly seen as meaningless, alienating, or exhausting; and economic, with work increasingly precarious, insecure, and undercompensated. The provocative label ‘post-work’ has been applied to a body of scholarship and an activist agenda that responds to this crisis by envisioning a world ‘after’ work. Unsurprisingly, disagreement has arisen as to the exact contours of the post-work critique and agenda (Hester and Stronge 2020, Dinerstein and Pitts 2021).

What does ‘post-work society’ mean, and on what grounds, if any, is it desirable? What are the theoretical foundations of the post-work ideal? What are its challenges and problems? For an edited volume, we are looking for abstracts that focus primarily on these questions:

  • What is meant by ‘work’ in ‘post-work’ arguments? How does ‘work’ relate to notions such as labour, jobs, employment?
  • Is the post-work movement anti-work? Anti-employment?
  • Are there competing understandings or ideals of a post-work society, and how do they differ?
  • Does post-work aim to eliminate work, or instead to recover or liberate the value of work from the present labour status quo?
  • How does the post-work movement relate to calls for increased opportunities for leisure or free time?
  • What are the central moral notions driving the anti-work critique (freedom, justice, solidarity, alienation, etc.)?
  • Is the charge that ‘post-work’ is utopian a fair charge?
  • What is the relation between ‘post-work’ and technological change?
  • What role does the feminist critique of reproductive labor play in shaping the post-work ideal?
  • How are ethics and social justice framed and articulated in the post-work view?
  • What is the relation between post-work and other philosophies of work?
  • What role, if any, do environmental concerns play in working time reduction goals?
  • How does the increasingly blurred line between the time of work and free time, mediated by new technologies, affect the post-work ideal?
  • In what ways do the ideals of a “post-work” society address long-standing inequities concerning sex, gender, race, disability, and immigration status?
  • What will be the role of labor markets in a “post-work” society? Are there alternatives to markets for allocating and compensating labor as productive contribution?
  • Does “post-work” mean post-capitalist? Are there alternative economic models that realize or reflect the ideals of a “post-work” social order?

The book Debating a Post-Work Future aims at providing a comprehensive, critical overview of the nature and desirability of a post-work future. Authors are invited to submit abstracts proposals that address these questions, or focus on different themes and approaches to a “post-work” critique and agenda. Abstracts should be 750 words, and submitted to the email address by June 1, 2021

The editors

Denise Celentano (Research Centre on Ethics, University of Montreal), Michael Cholbi (University of Edinburgh), Jean-Philippe Deranty (Macquarie University), Kory Schaff (California State University)

Supporting material

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