14 Mar DU seminar: A/Prof Deranty, Historicist objections to the centrality of work, and a tentative rejoinder

Deakin University philosophy seminar
A/Prof Jean-Philippe Deranty (Macquarie) presents ‘Historicist objections to the centrality of work, and a tentative rejoinder’
Wednesday 14 March from 3.30-5pm in C2.05 on Deakin University’s Burwood campus,
videolinked to LC1.003 (Facilities Management building) on the Waurn Ponds campus, not ic2.316 as originally advertised

The place of work in the contemporary theoretical field is a paradoxical one. Many empirical inquiries continue to be based on the assumption that work and employment are key factors in the study of major social phenomena such as inequality (economic, sexual or cultural), or shifts in family structures. This assumption is largely relayed in public discourse and policy discussions. On the other hand, there is widespread consensus in the theoretical arms of the humanities and social sciences that the work paradigm is now obsolete, both on descriptive and normative grounds. Adding to this complexity, substantive new models have emerged, notably the “psychodynamics of work” in France, which challenge this theoretical consensus. This paper places itself within this overall project to reaffirm and redescribe theoretically the centrality of work. I focus in this paper on the historicist assumptions at the heart of the theoretical consensus against the centrality of work. I identify four major reference points for these historicist objections: Marxist, Foucauldian, social-theoretical and anthropological. In a final part, I make some suggestions to indicate the contours of a rejoinder against such powerful objections.

Jean-Philippe Deranty is Associate Professor in Philosophy at Macquarie University. He is the author of Beyond Communication: A Critical Study of Axel Honneth’s Social Philosophy (Brill, 2009), and is the editor of a number of volumes including Jacques Rancière: Key Concepts (Acumen, 2010) and, with Alison Ross, Jacques Rancière and the Contemporary Scene (Continuum, 2012). Jean-Philippe is also a member of the editorial board of Critical Horizons.

The 2012 Deakin University seminar series is hosted by the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University.

This Deakin University seminar series is free to attend and open to all. Please direct any inquiries to Dr Sean Bowden at s.bowden@deakin.edu.au.

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