Explorations of the possibilities and perils of work in the twenty-first centuryare often animated by morally-charged ideas of human freedom. While such discussions oscillate between „soaring‟ conceptions of liberation from all constraints and abject evocations of any constraint as „subjection‟, anthropologists have generally sought to investigate how freedom is variably constituted through social relations and cultural values. In societies dominated by labour markets based on a principle of formally „free‟ wage labour, anthropologists have built on Karl Polanyi‟s approach to economy as „instituted process‟ to investigate comparatively how the exercise of freedom is shaped. Polanyi was worried about the implications of the “machine age” for democracy. What would he make of the gig economy that now flourishes alongside flexibilization and precaritization?
Source and further Information: Call for Papers, MPI for Social Anthropology, Link (2 December 2019)