The Politics and Ethics of Contemporary Work : Whither Work? book cover
1st Edition

The Politics and Ethics of Contemporary Work
Whither Work?

ISBN 9780367198114
Published July 9, 2021 by Routledge
256 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Bringing together leading international scholars within the fields of social and political theory and philosophy, this book explores how we should understand work and its role(s) in our lives and wider society.

What challenges are posed by work in our changing economy and the new economic forms that are beginning to emerge, and how can we best address these challenges? In what ways do patterns of working, as well as work technologies, shape people’s lives within and outside work, in particular their life opportunities and their social and natural environment? How might we organize—or seek to reorganize—workplaces so that the experience of work better reflects our shared ethical ideals and normative principles? This volume examines these vital questions in a comprehensive and systematic manner in order to provide much needed theoretical insight and practical guidance in reflecting on the nature, problems, and possibilities of work currently.

This book will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students and established academics in the areas of contemporary political theory and philosophy, social theory, legal philosophy, labour studies, the sociology of work, practical ethics, critical theory, and political activism.

Table of Contents


1 Whither Work? The Politics and Ethics of Contemporary Work

Jean-Philippe Deranty and Keith Breen

2 Work as a Realm of Social Freedom

Nicholas H. Smith

3 The Future of Meaningfulness in Work, Organizations, and Systems

Ruth Yeoman

4 Work and Human Nature in Hegel and Marx

Sean Sayers

5 Leisure and Respect for Working People

Andrea Veltman

6 Contesting the Work-Spend Cycle: The Liberal Egalitarian Case against Consumerism

Samuel Arnold

7 No Masters Above: Testing Five Arguments for Self-Employment

Iñigo González-Ricoy and Jahel Queralt

8 Automation, Basic Income, and Merit

Katharina Nieswandt

9 Marginal Liberalism

Lucas Stanczyk

10 Workplace Democracy and Republican Freedom

Keith Breen and Onni Hirvonen

11 Democratizing Workplaces from Below: Beyond Workplace Republicanism

Jean-Philippe Deranty and Emmanuel Renault

12 A Just Transition to a Sustainable Economy: Green Political Economy, Labour Republicanism, and the Liberation from Economic Growth

John Barry

13 Democratic Work: Grounds, Models, and Implications

Alexis Cukier

14 Proletarian Democracy: What Can We Learn from the Soviet Experience?

Paul Gomberg

15 Open Borders and (Post-)Work

James A. Chamberlain

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Keith Breen is Senior Lecturer in Political and Social Theory at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Jean-Philippe Deranty is Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.


"Work is too important a topic to leave it to economists alone—and the repercussions of the Corona crisis show that countries have choices to make with regard to how work is organized and regulated. Hence, it’s wonderful to see that philosophers and social scientists are returning to the topic of work. This volume, with its excellent range of contributors, is an important contribution to discussions that we urgently need to have."

Lisa Herzog, University of Groningen, Netherlands

"Addressing several of the most pressing issues today in the world of work, this is a timely and much needed volume that should be widely read."

Andrew Schaap, University of Exeter, UK

"How should we understand work currently? What responses can we muster to confront the difficulties and uncertainties presented by work for human flourishing, freedom, and justice? Bringing together several respected authors in political and social theory, this book tackles these questions and many more in incisive and revealing ways."

Allyn Fives, National University of Ireland, Galway