James A. Chamberlain

Dec 6, 2023

Undoing Work, Rethinking Community

A Critique of the Social Function of Work

ILR Press 2018

This revolutionary book presents a new conception of community and the struggle against capitalism. In Undoing Work, Rethinking Community: A Critique of the Social Function of Work (ILR Press, 2018), James A. Chamberlain argues that paid work and the civic duty to perform it substantially undermines freedom and justice. Chamberlain believes that to seize back our time and transform our society, we must abandon the deep-seated view that community is constructed by work, whether paid or not.

Chamberlain focuses on the regimes of flexibility and the unconditional basic income, arguing that while both offer prospects for greater freedom and justice, they also incur the risk of shoring up the work society rather than challenging it. To transform the work society, he shows that we must also reconfigure the place of paid work in our lives and rethink the meaning of community at a deeper level. Throughout, he speaks to a broad readership, and his focus on freedom and social justice will interest scholars and activists alike. Chamberlain offers a range of strategies that will allow us to uncouple our deepest human values from the notion that worth is generated only through labor.

James a Chamberlain is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Mississippi State University, where he specialize in political theory. Chamberlain engages with both ‘continental’ and ‘analytic’ traditions of political philosophy, as well as relevant work in the social sciences and humanities. Building on the work we will discuss today his current and recent research focuses on migration and borders.

Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly.

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Thomas Discenna

Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly.

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