Autonomy is collaborating closely with publishers on a number of books.
Autonomy and Automation: Work in the 21st Century
The labour market has been hollowed out and the future of work lies in the shadow of political crises. Many have argued that this growing social polarisation is driven by technological change. However, research has not kept up with the speed at which these changes are occurring. Social protections for workers are being eroded across the globe and technology is arguably catalysing this trend. Historically, the loss of employment in one industry has been more than offset by the expansion of employment in other industries. Yet, this employment tends to emerge under different social conditions. Research has often neglected how new technologies have catalysed exploitation, rather than helped workers overcome it.
This new series in collaboration with Zed aims to explore the rapidly changing nature of existing jobs as well as the variety of emergent occupations in new sectors. It takes technological change neither as an inherently liberatory force nor as an inherently constraining force, but rather as a function of social relations. Topics could include anything from sociological analysis of particular technical changes in industry such as the introduction of platforms and AI, to detailed ethnographies of particular experiences of workers themselves such as those of migrant carers, delivery drivers or freelance coders.
We solicit academics and non-academics to write punchy, trade-oriented, 30-40,000 word books on the above themes. Proposals should have the weight and rigour of academic thought, yet be accessible to a general audience. If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the series, please contact M.Cole@leeds.ac.uk for further information.
Matt Cole – Post-Doctoral Fellow in Work and Employment, University of Leeds
Kendra Briken – Chancellor’s Fellow in Work and Employment, Strathclyde University
Will Stronge – Co-director of Autonomy
Post-work: what it is, why it matters and how we get there (Bloomsbury 2021)
What does the future hold for work in our new technological age? How do we make sure that the uncertain future into which we are heading is heavenly and not hellish? How can we take the pleasures of work with us and eliminate the pains?
The answer: we need a post-work vision.
Questioning the received wisdom that work is good for you, that you are what you do and that ‘any job is a good job’, post-work offers a new challenge to the work-centred society. This timely book provides a vital introduction to the post-work debate – one of the most exciting political currents of recent years. It explores not only what the future of work will be like, but more importantly what the future of work should be like.
By Helen Hester and Will Stronge
Overtime: why we need a shorter working week (Verso 2021)
This book is about the politics of time, and specifically the amount of time that we spend labouring within capitalist society. It argues that reactivating the longstanding demand for shorter working hours should be central to any progressive trajectory in the years ahead.
This book will explain what a shorter waged working week means, as well as its history and its political implications. Building on a recent report from Autonomy (The Shorter Working Week: a radical and pragmatic proposal), this short book will speak in a more theoretical and political register, rooted in the radical traditions from which the idea emerged. Throughout its chapters, the reader will be introduced to key theorists of work and working time alongside the relevant research regarding our contemporary ‘crisis of work’, to which the proposal of a shorter working week responds.
By Kyle Lewis and Will Stronge