New Book

NEW FROM VERSO: WORK – The Last 1,000 Years by Andrea Komlosy

16th Jun 2018



The Last 1,000 Years

by Andrea Komlosy

Translated by Loren Balhorn and Jacob K. Watson


Tracing the complexity and contradictory nature of work throughout history
Say the word “work,” and most people think of some form of gainful
employment. Yet this limited definition has never corresponded to the
historical experience of most people—whether in colonies, developing
countries, or the industrialized world.

That gap between common assumptions and reality grows even more
pronounced in the case of women and other groups excluded from the
labour market.

In this important intervention, Andrea Komlosy demonstrates that
popular understandings of work have varied radically in different ages
and countries. Looking at labour history around the globe from the
thirteenth to the twenty-first centuries, Komlosy sheds light on both
discursive concepts as well as the concrete coexistence of multiple
forms of labour—paid and unpaid, free and unfree. From the economic
structures and ideological mystifications surrounding work in the
Middle Ages, all the way to European colonialism and the industrial
revolution, Komlosy’s narrative adopts a distinctly global and
feminist approach, revealing the hidden forms of unpaid and
hyper-exploited labour which often go ignored, yet are key to the
functioning of the capitalist world-system.

Work: The Last 1,000 Years will open readers’ eyes to an issue much
thornier and more complex than most people imagine, one which will be
around as long as basic human needs and desires exist.



“Andrea Komlosy has written an important book on the global history of
work during the past 800 years … she thinks about labour on a global
scale, thus overcoming a deep Eurocentric bias in much of the labour
history as it exists, and she brings feminist conversations on labour
into an analysis of virtually all aspects of labour history. Her book
is unique, I am not aware of any other such volume.”
– Sven Beckert

“As Andrea Komlosy argues in Work: The Last 1,000 Years, our
conception of what constitutes work has changed markedly over time.
The professor of social history at the University of Vienna writes
that our commonly accepted definitions are too narrow, too European,
too male and too modern”
– John Thornhill, Financial Times


Hardback :  February 2018 / 9781786634108 / £16.99 / $26.95 / $35.99 (CAN)

WORK is available to buy on the Verso website at 20% off: