International Conference on “Solidarity at Work”
14-15 November 2019
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Call for Applications
Deadline for submission: 30 April 2019
Launched in 2018 by the Wissenschaftskolleg and the International Research Center Work and
Human Life Cycle in Global History (re:work), the transnational network Working Futures brings
together sociologists, historians, philosophers, economists, law experts and anthropologists to
discuss current transformations in the world of work and the epistemological challenges they
raise for the historical and social sciences. The goal of the network is to create a space for mutual
exchange and understanding with respect to the futures of work, as well as work of the future,
among scholars from different disciplines and countries while centered around a Franco-German
nucleus. It endorses the premise that thinking about the futures of work requires an in-depth
knowledge and analysis of its contemporary mutations (the concrete forms they take, their causes
and repercussions). To this end, the network has developed an approach which examines the
transformations of work at the intersection of four processes: siliconization, financialization,
ecologization and democratization.
The term “solidarity” seems to have fallen out of theoretical fashion despite the fact that it has a
long history of describing the shared struggles of those oppressed by economic or political power structures. This conference aims to explore the past, present and future of “solidarity at work” on both the conceptual and empirical level. Its focus is on the world of work, which it wants to investigate from a transnational perspective. How have the concepts, conceptions and categories
of solidarity shaped labor and the labor movements of different countries? What about the divergent conceptual meanings and practices in these assorted contexts? How have power relations as well as people’s everyday life been changed by the various practices related to
solidarity? How do technological and managerial changes help to shift ideas and practices of solidarity? Do we see new forms emerging? Who are the agents of “solidarity at work” and what are the concrete mechanisms involved? More broadly, what are the levers and brakes of solidarity in the workplace today?
We want to explore these themes along three axes:
1) The History of the Concepts, Conceptions and Categories of Solidarity from a Transnational Perspective“Solidarity” is a concept that is easy to caricature because of its abstractness. But there are also
more concrete conceptions and categories of solidarity that guide social practices and are embedded and expressed in them. Why has the concept of solidarity, narrowly defined as workplace solidarity, seemed to have lost its resonance? Has it been supplanted by other concepts such as “commons” or Gemeinwohlwirtschaft? Which actors are involved in the production of
categories of solidarity and in which social fields do these categorization processes take place? The first panel is interested in the genesis of such concepts, conceptions and categories and their long-term development in different countries. While the transnational network Working Futures focuses on a comparison between France and Germany, we also invite submissions that take into account other national traditions or transnational comparisons.
- 2) Past and Present Practices of Solidarity at Work
analyze whether these case studies can be understood by the traditional concepts, conceptions and categories of “solidarity” as well as just how theory and practice have influenced each other.
- 3) Future Solidarity at Work
least because of new technologies which disrupt the traditional workplace and hence undermine
the social ties among co-workers. But we also see new forms of solidarity in play. Are these
merely new expressions of the old concept of solidarity, or do we need new certain conceptual
tools for grasping these phenomena? This third panel is interested in both descriptive and
normative accounts of new forms of solidarity and what “solidarity at work” could mean in the
Interested researchers are invited to send their proposals (800-1000 words) together with a CV,
contact information and a list of publications to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: 30 April 2019
Notification of acceptance: 1 June 2019
Accommodation and travel costs will be covered for participants in the conference.
Sasha Disko (Center for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin)
Lisa Herzog (TU Munich)
Bénédicte Zimmermann (Centre Georg Simmel, EHESS & Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin)