IWTIA, an International Jean Monnet Project funded by the EACEA in the frame of the Erasmus+ Programmes
Metamorphosis of Labour: social identity, mobilization, integration, representation. Find out more about the Conference
Je peux pas t'encadrer Photo: Albert Facelly pour Libération
Migrant workers waiting for the train in Orchard, Singapore. Xyza Bacani/Pulitzer Center
A host demonstrates a robotic prosthetic arm developed by UK startup Open Bionics mimicking his finger movements at the CUBE Tech Fair for startups on May 11 in Berlin, Germany. The CUBE Tech Fair is showcasing the projects of startups from across Europe. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
François Kollar, “Bouche du tunnel Sainte-Catherine, vers Sotteville-lés-Rouen, Rouen” (1932)

We are pleased to publish here the program of the I work therefore I am (European) Conference that will take place in Brussels on November 9-11. Participation is free but in order to attend as auditor registration is mandatory. If it is the case, please register by sending an email to secretariat@iworkthereforeiam.eu by NOVEMBER 2.


I work therefore I am (European)

Metamorphosis of Labour: Social Identity, Mobilization, Integration, Representation 

International Conference 9-11 November 2017, Brussels 

Within the framework of the Jean Monnet Project I Work Therefore I am (European)

Speakers and participants 

Emiliano Acosta (Vrije University of Bruxelles), Tiziana Andina (University of Torino), Gabriele Bischoff (EESC), Roberto Ciccarelli (Journalist at Il Manifesto), Silvia Contarini (University of Paris Nanterre), Rocco Cangelosi (CIME), Georges Dassis (EESC), Virgilio Dastoli (CIME), Marc De Vos (University of Ghent), Filip Dorssemont (University of Louvain), Maurizio Ferraris (University of Torino), Monica Jansen (University of Utrecht), Jean Lapeyre (Collège d’Europe – to be confirmed), Mara Santi (University of Ghent), Morag Shiach (Queen Mary University of London), Elly Schlein (European Parliament), Richard Sennett (LSE, NYU), Enrico Terrone (FMSH), Massimiliano Tortora (University of Torino), Gertrudis Van de Vijver (University of Ghent), Luca Visentini (European Trade Union Confederation).


Angela Condello (University of Roma Tre and University of Torino)

Tiziano Toracca (University of Torino)


European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

La Fonderie (Museum of Industry and Labour)

In contemporary Europe, labour occupies a central position in human existence: since the industrial revolution it is the principal criterion of reciprocal recognition and of universal mobilization. In a multi-level governance system like the EU, through their profession people feel recognized by the others: they are. Indeed, labour is more than a mere economic relationship, it rather pertains to an identitarian process and it is an anthropological phenomenon radically influencing human existence, a way to defend ourselves against death and, probably, what makes the difference between human beings and animals. The conference aims at analyzing labour in light of the transformation of European identity and of its interaction with the latest social, economic and political trends such as deindustrialization, pervasive enlargement of markets, digitalization and virtual relationships, social polarization and migratory fluxes. We aim to investigate the contradictions of the relation between labour and identity, such as the fact that very often labour does not produce any social integration but, on the contrary, hides forms of alienation. Moreover we aim to investigate the connection between the crisis of labour and the new forms of slavery – this particular feature is connected to mobilization. The existential role of labour in our lives – even when problematic – suggests that the humanities could help understanding why and how people need to work and to be integrated in a community. Other questions that may be explored include how the advent of competitive forces have blurred the lines between work and free time, and how they did reshape the notions of work-life balance and flexibility through the crisis.

The conference will be strongly interdisciplinary, connecting juridical, political and humanistic methodologies. Accordingly, we will organize four roundtables:

  • Philosophy and Technological Innovation
  • Politics and Civil Society
  • Law and Social Sciences
  • Literature and Cinema

The conference languages will be English and French.

Both established and early-career scholars are invited to submit proposals to present papers specifying the roundtable in which they would like to participate. Anyone wishing to participate should submit an abstract of max 350 words (about 15 minutes presentation) plus a brief biography, by email to secretariat@iworkthereforeiam.eu by 6 August 2017. Acceptances will be notified by 20 August at the latest.

The selected papers will be published in an edited collection following the conference. Registration details will be announced no later than August. Further details on the Conference and the Call for Papers can be found on iworkthereforeiam.eu