“Modern technique has made it possible for leisure, within limits, to be not the prerogative of small privileged classes, but a right evenly distributed throughout the community”

(Bertrand Russell, 1958)


27.9. – 28.9. 2019


Birkbeck, London

Keynote: Kathi Weeks

This September, CHASE and Autonomy will hold a two-day conference on the future of work. We invite contributions from across disciplines that relate to the critique of work, the reduction of working time and the post-work project. We want to contribute to the analysis of the current crisis of work in all its facets – reproductive, waged, unwaged, automatable and non-automatable – as well as engage with utopian proposals for a future emancipated from toil. To this end we are bringing together early career researchers, political activists and prominent post-work theorists for two days of debate, discussion and collaboration.



Key Questions:


  • Is the reduction of working-time a legitimate and desirable goal for politicians and activists? 
  • Should unemployment resulting from automation be welcomed or should states act as an ‘employer of last resort’?
  • How do forms of unpaid work – care and household work for example – fit into this picture? 
  • At what times of our life should free time – currently usually only available to the very young and very old – be made available to us?  
  • What are the different intellectual currents and traditions within post and anti-work thought?
  • How can empirical analyses help us understand trends in contemporary and future work? 


Conference description:


In recent decades, industrialised societies have witnessed unprecedented technological progress and huge growth of economic output. However, the availability of new technologies has only led to a marginal decrease in the amount of time people spend at work. Many find this puzzling and indeed problematic. A growing number of activists, politicians and scholars call for the implementation of policies that aim at reducing working-time, such as the 20 hours work-week. Arguably, such an intervention could reduce overwork, increase employment, reduce carbon emissions, and promote justice between genders. Some go even further and demand the abolishing of work tout-court and call for a transition to a Post-Work Society. In any case, the Digital Revolution can be expected to make many jobs redundant and change the nature of those jobs that are newly created. This raises a number of important and thus far under-explored questions that form the premise of the conference.


Best wishes, 


Franco Bonomi Bezzo, ISER, University of Essex

Amelia Horgan. CHASE, University of Essex

Malte Jauch, CHASE, University of Essex

Will Stronge, Autonomy