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School of Modern Languages, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, 10. July 2015

Conference with Norbert Trenkle and Anselm Jappe

“A corpse rules society – the corpse of labour.” – 

Manifesto Against Labour, Krisis-Group

   Since the 1970s modern societies have been increasingly faced with social issues caused by a reliance on a form of life that technological development is making redundant: work. Competition drives companies to eject human beings from the labour process even while it relies on those people as consumers and producers of value. Equally, more human beings than ever before depend upon the capitalist production process for their survival, yet at this historical juncture it appears no longer to have need of them. It is this contradiction that some contemporary social critics have diagnosed as the basis of a crisis of civilisation through which we are currently living. The symptoms of this crisis are manifold and, one can argue, affect every aspect of society: privatisation, financialisation and economic crises, mass unemployment, the casualisation of labour and austerity programmes, regional conflict, the rise of political extremism, growing wealth inequality, individualisation, school shootings and the ever-growing number of people suffering from narcissistic personality disorders, to name but a few. Despite the sheer scale of problems that society currently faces, the dominant social discourse has rarely considered that a crisis of the very categories of capitalist society could be the source of the problem. Work, in particular, is central to modern notions of individual and collective identity, of morality and even of human nature. It is the means through which individuals are expected to realise themselves and to gain access to social wealth. It is perhaps for this reason that, while work is often seen as central to resolving the current crisis – either through calls for higher wages and the right to work or through attacks on immigrants and the unemployed – it is rarely seen as the problem in itself. The aim of this conference is therefore to ask what might a critique of work usefully offer us in addressing contemporary social issues and, if one will allow it, the possibility of a greater crisis of modern civilisation.

Sir Martin Evans Building, Cardiff University, Rooms C/-1.01 and C/-1.04

The conference is open to all, free tickets are now available via this website:http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/never-work-conference-tickets-16580125602


08:30-09:00 Registration

09:00-10:00 Keynote Speaker : Anselm Jappe
Chair : Alastair Hemmens

10:00-11:00 Panels 1 and 2 (Running Parallel)

The Practice of Antiwork

Chair : Nick Parsons
Speaker 1 : Jamie Woodcock : The practice of anti-work politics: what are the implications for organisation and strategy ?
Speaker 2 : Steve Fontaine: “Work”? Never !

Work on Film

Chair: Heiko Feldner
Speaker 1: Audrey Evrard : Is Our Work the Problem ? Post-1990 French Documentary Filmmaking and the Status of Cultural/Creative Work
Speaker 2 : Martin O’Shaughnessy : No exit : French and Belgian film and worker suicide

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-12:45 Panels 3 and 4 (Running Parallel)

The Situationists and Work

Chair: Alastair Hemmens
Speaker 1: Gabriel Zacarias: Guy Debord’s critique of work, from Surrealism to Marxism
Speaker 2: Tom Bunyard : Subject-Object Unity and Workers’ Councils in Guy Debord’s Theory of ‘Spectacle’
Speaker 3: David Black : Critique of the Situationist Dialectic

Politicising Work

Chair: David Frayne
Speaker 1: Nick Nesbitt : Spectres of the Infinitesimal : The Problem with Antiwork
Speaker 2: Mari Lindman : Work critique as immanent critique ?
Speaker 3: Harry Pitts : Normalisation, exclusion, commensuration : work, economics and the critique of political economy

12:45-13:45 Lunch Break

13:45-14:45 Keynote Speaker: Norbert Trenkle
Chair: Josh Robinson

14:45-16:15 Panels 5 and 6 (Running Parallel)

The Historicity of Labour

Chair: Alastair Hemmens
Speaker 1: Claudio Cellis : The Work of Paying Attention : The Attention Economy and the Historicity of Labour
Speaker 2: Jason Dawsey : Liquidating the Human : Günther Anders and the Abolition of Work
Speaker 3: Cassio Boechat and Fabio Pitta : Use-values as part of fictitious social reproduction

Work and Critical Theory

Chair : Heiko Feldner
Speaker 1: Bart Zantvoort : Institutional Inertia and the Irrelevance of Work
Speaker 2: David Frayne : The Stronghold of Work
Speaker 3: Marcel Stoetzler : Labour and identity according to Adorno and Horkheimer

16:15-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:00 Panel 7

The Critique of Value

Chair : Josh Robinson
Speaker 1: Elmar Flatschart (Exit !) : Value-theoretical differences between Wert-Abspaltungs-Kritik and Neue Marx Lektüre and their Consequences
Speaker 2 : Konstantinous Stylianou : A Critique of Labour and Its Barriers: An Analysis on the Form of the Subject of Modernity
Speaker 3 : Robin Halpin : Presentation of Robert Kurz’ “The Substance of Capital”
18:00+ Drinks Reception

Tag(s) : #Rencontres autour de la critique de la valeur