The (re)Invention of Labour, the Worker, and Social Domination

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Seminarsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Alberto Leonard BIALAKOWSKY, Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ana CARDENAS TOMAZIC, Institute for Social Research (ISF), Germany
In capitalist societies, under the discursive abstraction of the labour market as a space for commodity exchange and the buying and selling of labour power, two groups have been differentiated: employers and employees. While these groups have been asymmetrically regulated over time, during the postwar era the predominance of capital could be moderated by the worldwide convergence of social democratic, socialist and populist regimes under which the structural and institutional foundations of that asymmetrical social relationship was partially redefined to establish a new social contract. Since the ‘70s and especially during the ´90s, neoliberal reforms have been widely introduced around the world and the relationship between capital and labour has once again become extremely asymmetrical. In Latin America, this process has led to a new scenario of social conflicts, which are expressed in the electoral, legislative and judicial arenas, but also by different social movements. Considering this background, we propose to discuss the current meanings of work by sketching challenges and possibilities of the Sociology of Labour in the Global South. To do so, three analytical foci are proposed: 1) A discussion of contemporary centres of labour domination from the point of view of the Latin American critical approach, 2) A critical review of the concepts of free and forced labour in light of contemporary labour conditions, and 3) A diagnostic and prospective evaluation of the possibilities for a transition from a mode of production centered on the use of forced labour to one based on reciprocity between freely associated producers. Based on this reflexive exercise, we will explore the possibilities and challenges of a global labour sociology.