The future of work in the (post-)pandemic reality

Organizacja: Adam Mrozowicki (UWr), Bartosz Mika (UG)
Numer: G08

The debates on the shape and form of gaining livelihood preceded the emergence of the sociology work as a separate sub-discipline of social science. They were strongly connected with the crises of socio-economic system which finally took the shape of contemporary capitalism. According to Karl Marx and, more recently, Beverly Silver or David Harvey, capitalist drive towards constant capital accumulation, which has become an imperative of this system, leads to spatial fixes (geographical expansion), technological fixes (e.g. automation, robotisation, digitalisation), product fixes (moving capital to new industries) and financial fixes (shifting capital to financial markets). Based on the critical sociology of work tradition, it can be argued that all above revolve around equally rapid “organizational shifts.” The latter refer to changes in organizing the work process and controlling workers, and thus the key ways of effective accumulation. Moreover they refer also to “boundary fixes” which concern, inter alia, the evolving relationship between productive and reproductive work and the socially constructed distinctions between “work” and “leisure”. Arguably, all types of “fixes” are likely to follow the largest – in terms of its coverage –  socio-economic crisis of the 21st century caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on what we already know it can be safely assumed that pandemic is likely to accelerate the digitalisation and algorithmisation trend in the sphere of work leading to the further expansion of remote forms of working, platform economy and other forms of organisational and technical innovation. Pandemic also led to the redefinition of the social and symbolic boundaries of work manifested, among others, in further expansion of precarious work, the greater health-related risks of “offline”, “essential” workers and the need of “boundary work” in case of those unwillingly shifted to remote working. Arguments are also being made about accelerating the implementation of production techniques that do not require human presence (robotization).  This session – organized over two years after the start of pandemic – aims at examining which of the changes accelerated by COVID-19 and earlier global structural crises of capitalism are likely to shape the future of work? We invite in particular, but not exclusively, the proposals of empirical papers on the topics such as digitalisation, automation, platformisation, precarisation, boundary work, the evolution of “essential work” and remote work, changing socio-economic consciousness and life strategies of workers and the crisis-driven evolution of industrial relations, with particular emphasis on comparative and longitudinal contributions. Studies proposing new interpretations of the phenomena of interest using the concept of critical sociology of work will also be welcomed.

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Terminy

do 31 maja 2022
przekazanie autorom informacji o przyjęciu referatów

14-17 września 2022
XVIII Zjazd Socjologiczny