WORCK Conference 1: Reconceptualising Wage Labour

16–19 September 2020: Virtual Conference hosted by the CEU Budapest, Hungary

Hosts: Susan Zimmermann and Isidora Grubacki

Conference Program “Reconceptualising Wage Labour” (pdf)

One of the defining features of global labour history has been the insistence on looking beyond wage labour. Therefore, much scholarship has been directed towards labour understood to be informal or coercive. From this vantage point, historians have argued that in a global and long-term historical perspective wage labour in a stable labour market was rarely the norm. However, in conceptualising wage labour as an exception scholars often maintain an analytical distinction between labour relations understood to be coercive, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, wage labour which is implicitly or explicitly understood to be a form of free labour. This conference aimed to move past this binary by exploring the moments and logics of labour coercion within labour relations mediated by remuneration (of all kinds) and/or contracts (of all kinds) including ostensibly free labour. To this end, it also sought to open up a discussion about whether concepts such as “hired labour” can help historians reconceptualise historical links between wage labour and labour coercion.

In nine sessions, 37 conference speakers from all parts of the world and a round table discussion addressed the conference topic from different perspectives.

Call for Papers [pdf]

Conference Poster [pdf]

Conference Organisation

Virtual Conference

Hosted by Central European University, Budapest (Hungary)