Update: The deadline for abstracts and panel proposals has been extended until 15 February

The third and final conference of the COST Action WORCK will take place in the upcoming year, from 5-7 September 2023 at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.


Legal philosopher Alan Wertheimer wrote that “our understanding of coercion underlies… our view of various social practices”. The opposite also holds true: Researching social relations in a given historical context is essential for understanding how coercion underpins the organisation of production, the administration of punishment, and interpersonal relations in conditions of power asymmetry. In turn, social practices can only be understood within processes such as valorisation, im/mobilisation, and punishment that converge to create the historical dimension within which we understand those practices.

Moving on beyond a research agenda that seeks to posit a dichotomy between free and unfree labour or design a spectrum of scalar shades of coercion between the opposite poles of freedom and unfreedom, the WORCK network has attempted to understand how practices and processes of labour coercion can illuminate social practices (and vice versa) at specific historical junctures and in various geographical settings.

The final conference seeks to bring together scholars conducting empirical research on such practices and processes, as well as on the perspectives of historical actors and how they were entangled in social asymmetries. We welcome submissions from participants at any stage of their career, including doctoral students and independent scholars. Our aim is to attract researchers from the entire spectrum of social sciences and humanities who study labour coercion with historical perspectives in a variety of disciplines.

We are open to any contribution addressing the history of coercive social processes, including but not limited to:

  1. Remuneration, valorisation, indebtedness
  2. Violence, retribution, chastisement
  3. Punishment and labour relations
  4. Entangled spaces, coercive network
  5. Conceptualising coercion: Methods and ontologies
  6. Conflict, negotiation, autonomy
  7. Paternalism in the household and on the shop floor
  8. Environment, work, and coercion

Submission Process

We welcome individual papers as well as full panel proposals.

Individual papers: Please send a 300–500 word abstract together with information on your academic title (e.g., PhD student), affiliation (if any), and country to conference@worck.eu  by 15 February 2023.

Panels: Panels should be composed of 3 to 5 papers. Please send a rationale for the panel, an abstract (300–500 words) for each paper, and information about the presenters to conference@worck.eu by 15 February 2023.

The COST action will cover travel expenses for active participants in the conference according to the COST travel reimbursement rules,

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the conference committee at the address provided above.

For continous updates, please visit the conference website:  https://worck.eu/conference-3-2023-prague/

Find the CfP as a PDF-File here: CfP_Historicising-Coercive-Social-Processes