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23.03.2019 15:40 Alter: 63 days

Solidarity at Work

Call for Papers

Theme: Solidarity at Work
Type: International Conference
Institution: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Location: Berlin (Germany)
Date: 14.–15.11.2019
Deadline: 30.4.2019

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

Conference Theme

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

How do workers and other agents translate the abstract idea of
solidarity into concrete practices, and what effects do these
practices have? What impact does the increasing role of
automatization and digitalization have on the conception and practice
of solidarity not only in the workplace but in everyday life? The
second panel is interested in exploring those certain case studies
from the past and present which throw light on what “solidarity”
means in practice. In addition we want to 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

Many commentators predict that the world of work will become
increasingly fragmented not 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 future.


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:

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)

Conference website: