Alternative Forms of Work Under Post-Fordism: Policies, Discourses, and Experiences

Sociologists of work have argued that post-fordist labor regimes often render problematic the very notion of what is considered “work.” At the same time, public policy towards various forms of unremunerated work, such as care work and voluntary work, is changing. Some scholars assert that alternative models to wage labor are possible and desirable, such as Ulrich Beck’s ‘civic labour’ concept that aims to provide stronger support for and recognition of non-market forms of work. Others (e.g. Muehlebach) fiercely critique the emergence of an unwaged labor regime that seeks to activate and moralize various ‘unproductive’ or even ‘unworthy’ segments of the population, such as the unemployed, the retired, immigrants and refugees. The evolution of these debates calls for a deeper understanding of the contemporary societal valuation and recognition of different forms of work, and the consequences thereof for social inclusion. This workshop invites conceptual and empirical papers debating on the configuration of work in present-day labor regimes, with a particular interest in (a) how societies and policies produce particular meanings of ‘work’ through discourse and practice; (b) how different configurations of work are experienced by subjects themselves.

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