Exploitation isn’t the only thing wrong with work


Interview by
Johannes-Baptiste Oduor

In a recently published article, Ruth Dukes and Wolfgang Streeck discuss the now rather obscure concept of industrial citizenship and the changing status of work in the 20th and 21st centuries. For many on the left, preoccupation with social status comes second to interest in exploitation in the workplace. This dismissal is understandable, as the social status of work has often been used as a justification for forms of oppression.

Earlier this month, however, Dukes and Streeck had a say Jacobin‘s John-Baptiste Oduor on the complexity and political need to defend a vision of the status of work and workers. The authors reflect on several issues important to the left, including the legacy of the left opposition to social democracy and the ability to fight the low-paid and ostensibly stateless gig economy.

The ideas discussed here emerge from the authors’ ongoing joint research project on social and legal norms of work. Part of this project will be in the form of an upcoming book, Democracy in the Workplace: Contract, Status, and Post-Industrial Justice, from Polis.


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