Call for Papers: 'Varieties of Workplace Democracy: from specific models to a political economy'

Workshop, Centre Marc Bloch / Humboldt University Berlin

The goal of democratizing the workplace continues to inform both actual struggles and intellectual discourses about the sphere of work. However, compared to similar debates held some decades ago, today's theoretical landscape concerning workplace democracy is significantly wider, with a variety of models and practices vying to be seen as the best promoters of a more democratic workplace. In fact, alongside historically established models such as those of collective bargaining between employers and trade unions, or the German-based model of co-determination, other approaches such as those of co-operatives, workers' self-manaement, stakeholder participation, co-management and financial participation schemes have been enjoying grater attention in recent years. Yet, while we now possess a deeper understanding of  the several possible interpretations of workplace democracy, and the concrete practices and institutional forms these may assume, the question as to how each of these models is to be integrated into a wider, more comprehensive political economy remains understudied.

This workshop shall therefore focus on the links between the umbrella notion of workplace democracy, namely in its contemporary translation into several models, and the wider political economy into which it must be embedded. In particular, the workshop will address two major topics related to the implementation of workplace democracy in the context of advanced and complex economies:

  • The Political Economy of Workplace Democracy
  • Workplace Democracy and Solidarity

We invite the participation of PhD students, postdoctoral scholars, and established researchers to join us in the discussion and present their ongoing work on these topics.

Call for Papers

Call for Papers: ‘The circulation of ideas and practices regarding workplace democracy in Europe and beyond, from WWII to the present’

International conference, Université d’Évry Paris-Saclay, 28-29 September 2023

The French model of "autogestion" and the German model of co-determination are two "models" of democracy in the workplace that were most discussed in Europe in the immediate post-war period with regard to the democratisation of industrial relations. However, the idea seems to have lost ground since the 1980s; today, hierarchical forms of organisation continue to dominate the private and public economic landscape, and workplace democracy recieves little attention in the media and in public life.

In recent years, however, the topic of "democracy in the workplace" has experienced a new lease of life, at least in academic discourse. A large number of new publications have appeared in many different disciplines and the 2021 "Global Forum on Democratising Work" brought together hundreds of scholars from all over the world. However, with few exceptions, few historical works address the history of democracy in the workplace from a transnational or global perspective.

The aim of this conference is therefore to examine the spread of ideas and practices of workplace democracy on a European and global scale from the Second World War to the present. Therefore, we hereby invite contributions based on new empirical research that contribute to a comparative and global history of workplace democracy.

Call for Papers

Research Seminar "Self-management: ideas, practices, circulation, 19th-21st century" (Univeristy of Évry Paris-Saclay, France)
Monthly Sessions, Wednesdays from 2 to 4.30pm, October 26th, 2022 - May 17th, 2023

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Upcoming Events
  • European Social Science History Conference (Gothenburg, Sweden)
    April 12th - April 15th, 2023
  • Workshop "Varieties of Workplace Democracy: from specific models to a political economy" (Centre Marc Bloch, Humboldt University Berlin)
    June 7th - June 9th, 2023
  • International Conference ‘The circulation of ideas and practices regarding workplace democracy in Europe and beyond, from WWII to the present' (University of Évry Paris-Saclay, France)
    September 28th - September 29th, 2023

Past Events
  • Symposion "Betriebsräte in deutschen Unternehmen - Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft" (Bochum, Germany)
    December 1st - December 2nd, 2022
  • Project Workshop "Workplace Democracy: a European ideal?" (Institute for Social Movements, Bochum, Germany)
    April 4th - April 6th, 2022