Call for Papers

Reminder: Call for Papers for the Workers’ Inquiry Stream

13th May 2019

Call for Papers for the Workers’ Inquiry Stream as part of the HM London 2019 Conference

Sponsored by Notes from Below

Historical Materialism Sixteenth Annual London Conference 2019
Claps of Thunder: Disaster Communism, Extinction Capitalism and How to Survive Tomorrow
Central London, 7-10 November 2019…/hml…/annual16

Call for Papers, Deadline 15 May 2019
For all queries, email only please:

The method of workers’ inquiry and class composition analysis has continued to grow in popularity, reflected in the streams during the last two years Historical Materialism London, as well as in Notes from Below, Viewpoint, Platforme d’Enquêtes Militantes, and the republication of autonomist marxist “classics”. 

By workers’ inquiry, we mean a set of methods that seek to understand work from the perspective of workers. This includes interviews, ethnography, and forms of co-research that draw workers into the process of research. However, unlike traditional forms of workplace research, these methods are tied into projects of organising: not only seeking to describe the conditions of work, but developing practices to refuse and overcome them. 

Class composition refers to way classes are formed and operate within capitalist society. For Notes from Below, this means going beyond Workerism to analyse class composition in three ways: first, technical composition, how workers are organised, that is to say ‘technically arranged’ within any given work. Second, social composition, how workers are composed in society. Third, political composition, how workers resist and are organised. We seek to understand strategies and tactics by which capital de-composes working class power and workers themselves re-compose their own power by overcoming divisions and developing new tactics and strategies.

For his stream, we welcome papers that use the workers’ inquiries methods and/or class composition analysis. As in previous years, we especially welcome papers from workers, activists, and organisers. We are flexible on the format of papers, which can be co-presented or take alternative forms. 

In particular, we are inviting papers that focus on:

• Workers’ inquiries across different sectors and countries

• The circulation of struggles across sectors and borders

• Rethinking unions and strikes

• Struggles over reproductive labour including care work, education, health care

• Global choke points
• The role of urban social composition in contemporary and historical struggles

The editors of Notes from Below are also happy to discuss proposals beforehand. In the past we have collaborated with potential speakers to develop ideas for the conference. If you would be interested in this, please email 

Otherwise, the abstracts should be submitted through the conference website.

Please Note: Although we welcome preconstituted panels, after extensive feedback from previous years we are tightening up on panels with just titles or incomplete names. Panels should provide title, abstract and full names, emails of each participant and abstract/note of contribution (where relevant). Incomplete panel proposals will be put on the reserve list and may ultimately be rejected. We also reserve the right to reject certain papers in a preconstituted panel and to reconstitute panels as we see fit.