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Never Work? Conference starts debate on works and its place in contemporary society

3 August 2015

Dr Alastair Hemmens speaking
Dr Alastair Hemmens

This month the School of Modern languages held the first “Never Work” conference which was funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The conference was organised as part of a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship research project currently being undertaken at Cardiff University by Dr Alastair Hemmens entitled: “Ne Travaillez jamais: The Critique of Work in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century French Thought, from Charles Fourier to Guy Debord.”

The aim of the conference was to ask what a critique of work might usefully offer us in addressing contemporary social issues in an age of crisis. The conference was particularly concerned with what kind of critiques of work are necessary and how work might be properly understood and analysed at a theoretical level.

The conference, which took place on 10 July and was attended by over 50 people, included keynote speeches by Anselm Jappe and Norbert Trenkle. It is hoped that the event successfully created new international networks of research and encouraged collaboration between academics which will serve as a building block for future developments in the critique of work in the UK and abroad.

Dr Alastair Hemmens said of the event, “It was a fantastic day, with lots of interesting and engaging papers and debates. Hopefully, it will be the starting point for greater interest in the critique of work and the value form in the UK over the coming years.”