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Anthropology of Labour Network (AoL) Events

Call for Papers: Key issues in the anthropology of labour in the context of flexible capitalism aol cover
Workshop for the Anthropology of Labor Network in collaboration with Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology
University of Amsterdam, Sep 30 - Oct 1, 2019
(Photos by JR @JRart)

Since the 2008 crisis, anthropologists have rekindled their interest in labour. While Euro-American societies primarily experience these changes as the waning of secure contracts, the 21th century has seen an ever-greater variety of labor regimes with differential subsumption of labor to capitalist expansion. The changing nature of work pertains not only to industrial labor but to feminisation, migration and the automation of labour via digital platforms. These processes have engendered a re-theorisation of the concept of precarity around wider issues of life and care rather than just income or productive work. Stretched between the horizon of potentiality and the politics of inequality, labour occupies a central field in the anthropological inquiry into the human condition and opens up towards a more familiar terrain of anthropological research of kinship, gender, and community in relation to social reproduction.

The Anthropology of Labour Network was established under EASA in 2018 to create a space for anthropologists interested in linking macroeconomic processes to everyday experiences, and to reconceptualise productive and reproductive work, labour’s value(s) in social life and workers struggles. This two days event is co-organised with Focaal-Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, a peer-reviewed journal combining ethnography, processual analysis, local insights and global vision in relation to wider spatial networks of capitalism.

We invite papers that explore one of these four thematic strands

  1. New vs. old forms of labour. What is exactly ‘new’ and ‘old’ about current labor forms and what are the appropriate historical and geographical scales for exploring their rise?
  2. Labour stability vs. flexibilisation: How do labor in/stability relate to precarity, im/mobility, politics of class, border rigidity and containment?
  3. Care, value and reproductive labour:  How do labor processes relate to wider social processes? How does this transgression open avenues of exploitation and reassessment of value?
  4. Labour mobilisations: Are conflicts between capital and labor still a relevant locus of politics in times of trade union decay, migration, labor casualisation and automation?

Please send abstracts of 200 words to the organizers (see below) along with a 100 words bio before April 30.

The workshop is supported by EASA, Focaal, and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). It will be held at the University of Amsterdam. We can offer some partial financial support for travel within Europe, so please indicate whether you would like to be considered for a small grant to cover travel and accommodation expenses. Please also indicate if you have institutional funding to cover your workshop attendance.

The organizers

Mariya Ivancheva, University of Liverpool (m.ivancheva@liverpool.ac.uk)
Dan V. Hirslund, University of Copenhagen (hirslund@hum.ku.dk)
Luisa Steur, University of Amsterdam (l.j.steur@uva.nl)

More information on Focaal is available on the journal’s website (https://journals.berghahnbooks.com/focaal) and its blog (https://www.focaalblog.com)