Call for Papers

HM Work, Workers’ Inquiry, and Class Composition stream

8th May 2018

Taking on the Right 

Historical Materialism Fifteenth Annual Conference – Call For Papers

School of Oriental and African Studies, Central London, 8-11 November 2018

All queries to:

HM Call for Papers for the Work, Workers’ Inquiry, and Class Composition stream

All queries to:

Abstract submissions:

Deadline: 1 June 2018



Work, Workers’ Inquiry, and Class Composition

This stream builds on the “Work” stream from the Historical Materialism London conference in 2017. In collaboration with Notes from Below, we are inviting contributions on the subject of work, workers’ inquiry, and class composition. As Marx explained in his call for a workers’ inquiry, ‘socialists . . . must wish for an exact and positive knowledge of the conditions in which the working class – the class to whom the future belongs – works and moves.’ In this stream we propose drawing together papers that examine the changing shape of work and workplace struggle today.

We invite abstracts for papers that use the method of workers’ inquiry. For this stream, we conceive of the method broadly as one through which workers’ own experience is used as the basis for analysis, either by the researcher, the worker themselves, or in a process of co-research. Papers must draw on some form of empirical data about work, which can be from the author’s own experience. Following from last year, we are particularly keen to encourage workers to submit abstracts about their own experiences (and are happy to work together in advance of the deadline on proposals).

We expect papers to address (or at least in part) the following:

·        the changing technical composition of work (how work is organised and managed, what kinds of labour is involved, the use of technology, and management techniques)

·        the social composition of workers (how workers are organised within society, for example, living conditions, cultures, access to support of various kinds)

·        the political (re-)composition of workers (how workers organise politically, including a range of forms from resistance and refusal, up to political organisations).