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The Changing Worlds of Labour - Marx and Beyond

Date: 20 January 2010 Time: 4 pm

Venue: LT 11, Management School

Department of Organisation, Work and Technology Seminar Series

Wednesday 20th January, 4pm

LT 11, Management School


The Changing Worlds of Labour: Marx and Beyond

Prof. Michael Krätke, IAS


Labour and work, together with their counterparts, non-labour, leisure, play, free activity, still belong to the core concepts of the social sciences and philosophy. Marx, continuing the work of the classical economists and criticizing them by the same token, regarded labour as the core category upon which a systematic theory of modern society was to be built. In the process, he developed a whole grid of labour concepts that can be presented in sequences of dichotomies and opposites: abstract versus concrete labour, living versus dead labour, productive versus unproductive labour, free versus unfree labour, homogenous versus heterogenous labour, simple versus complicated labour, manual versus intellectual labour, individual versus collective labour. His theory of labour was developed with the perspective a new universe of labour, becoming more and more integrated and unified thanks to the development of the world market. Today, we realize that the worlds of labour, all the progress of globalisation notwithstanding, become more and more differentiated and particularized. Instead of an universe of homogenous labour, dominated by universal wage labour relations, we are in a multiverse of rather more than less variegated forms of labour. How can we deal with these new (and not so new) worlds of labour? How do they fit into an increasingly integrated world economy?


Born 1949. Studied Economics, Sociology, Political Science from 1969 to 1974 at the Free University, Berlin, the Free University, Brussels and the Sorbonne (Université Paris I), Paris. M.A. in Economics, Political Science, Sociology; PhD 1980 Free University Berlin. Assistant Professor in Berlin, Bielefeld, New York, Associate Professor in Amsterdam, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Amsterdam, Visiting Professor at many Universities (Aix-en-Provence, Lyon, Kopenhagen, Berkeley, Wuhan, San Diego, Kassel, Florence). Worked as Researcher for EU, Worldbank, ILO, OECD. Fellow of the International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam. Since January 2009 Professor of Sociology (Chair for Political Economy) and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Lancaster University, UK. Author of 12 books (including edited volumes) and 245 articles in journals and chapters in books, including articles in handbooks and dictionaries. Works as a Journalist for German, French, Swiss, Belgian Newspapers and Broadcasting companies>

All staff and doctoral students are warmly invited to OWT research seminars.


A wine reception will be held from 5.30pm.


Who can attend: Internal


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Institute for Advanced Studies


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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