CfP: Thoughts of Industrial citizenship: political controversies, symbolic struggles and class relations

Call for papers, deadline 12 December 2018


Sociologists, historians and industrial relations specialists have generally addressed the notion of industrial citizenship as the set of rights and bodies of representation and participation granted to workers in companies (Lichtenstein, Harris, 1996; Martin, 1994; Coutu, Murray 2010; Béroud, 2013). This corresponds to the Marshallian definition that posits industrial citizenship as a by-product of social citizenship, the latter emerging in the wake of civil and political rights (Marshall, 1950). This meaning of industrial citizenship, which refers to regulatory mechanisms aimed at integrating workers into the economic order, at harmonizing the “economic“ and the “social”, is the product of “State thinking” (Bourdieu, 1993). It responds to the concern for governing the “social question” that arose at the end of the 19th century and corresponds to the theorizations and administrative divisions, which developed in relation to the emergence of the institutions of the social state.  

In the field of political and social theory, following Carole Pateman (1970), we are only beginning to rediscover the diverse paradigms of “industrial democracy” (Hayat, 2011; Cukier, 2017; Ferreras, Landemore, 2016), allowing new interpretations of industrial citizenship. At the crossroads of political sociology and history of ideas, other works have also highlighted the disputed and historically variable nature of related categories such as those of “employee” (Vinel, 2013), “democracy” (Dupuis-Deri, 2013) or “social democracy” (Yon, to be published).

In the wake of this work, this thematic section aims to study industrial citizenship as an issue of struggle. What is at stake is precisely the definition of the rights as well as the boundaries of the community within which the identity of “citizen” takes on meaning, without assuming a separation between the economic and the political. The objective is to analyze industrial citizenship through the lens of the social history of political ideas, understood as “the rationalizations of the political order, whether in terms of its legitimizations or its forms of contestation” (Gaboriaux, Skornicki, 2017, p. 20). In other words, it is a question of approaching industrial citizenship as a way of questioning the work-based anchoring of citizenship claims. The objective is to document the diversity and evolution of discourses on industrial citizenship, by studying its multiple and changing representations, its social and intellectual origins.

This thematic section will be expecting communication proposals exploring, in a French, foreign or international context, and in a broad temporal sequence (from the beginnings of the industrial revolution to the present day), the following three dimensions:

- “Workers’ thoughts”. First concerned by industrial citizenship, workers are not only passive subjects of discourse, but also at least partially autonomous thinkers (Rancière, 1981). The works of thought produced individually by workers, but also in texts related to the very activity of work and often produced collectively, make it possible to trace the trajectory of these discourses: their genesis and circulation, their role in the dynamics of social struggle, the tensions that permeate them and the challenges during which they face other thoughts of industrial citizenship.

- “Employers’ thoughts". The employers’ discourses, reflecting the intellectual and political dissensions and controversies that affect them, also call for an intellectual and discursive genealogy of the notion. Beyond the liberal and then neoliberal alignment of employers (Denord, 2016; Offerlé, 2013), the aim here is to take seriously the production and role of these employer discourses concerning the “civic” dimension of business, from philanthropy, paternalism or 19th century fouriérism to international discourses on Corporate Social Responsibility, via Antoine Riboud’s “Marseille speech” in 1972 (Gourgues, 2018).

- The “state thoughts”. In France, the discourse of public authorities on labor is marked by a tension between two visions of citizenship, industrial and social. While we have historically witnessed the transition from a “workers’ law” to a “social law” covering all employees, and while the so-called “industrial” legislation from the outset aimed to organize more broadly than just industrial workers (Didry, 2016), the legislation is nevertheless marked by this origin. The main institutions of wage citizenship are anchored in the establishments. Other mechanisms, such as labor courts and social security, have, however, been able to translate more or less explicitly over time a more territorialized and “social” conception of citizenship. How can we account for this tension? What about other countries?


Proposals have to be sent to: . before December 12 2018


Références bibliographiques

Cukier A., 2017, Le Travail démocratique, Paris, PUF.

Denord F., 2016, Le Néo-libéralisme à la française. Histoire d’une idéologie politique, Marseille, Agone.

Didry C., 2016, L’institution du travail, Paris, La Dispute.

Dupuis-Déri F., 2013, Démocratie. Histoire politique d’un mot aux États-Unis et en France, Montréal, Lux.

Ferreras I., Landemore H., 2016, « In Defense of Workplace Democracy. Towards a Justification of the Firm–State Analogy », Political Theory, vol. 44, n° 1, p. 53-81.

Gaboriaux C., Skornicki A. (dir.), 2017, Vers une histoire sociale des idées politiques, Villeneuve d'Ascq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion.

Gourgues G., Neuschwander C., 2018, Pourquoi ont-ils tué Lip ? De la victoire ouvrière au tournant néolibéral, Paris, Raisons d’Agir.

Hayat S., 2011, « Démocratie industrielle (Démocratie ouvrière) », in C. Gaillard et G. Navet (dir.), Dictionnaire Proudhon, Bruxelles, 2011.

Lichtenstein N., Harris J., 1996, Industrial Democracy in America: the Ambiguous Promise, Cambridge University Press.

Marshall T.H., 1950, Citizenship and Social Class, and Other Essays, Cambridge University Press.

Martin D., 1994, Démocratie industrielle. La participation directe dans les entreprises, Paris, PUF.

Offerlé M., 2013, Les patrons des patrons. Histoire du Medef, Paris, Odile Jacob.

Pateman C., 1970, Participation and Democratic Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Rancière J., 1981, La Nuit des prolétaires. Archives du rêve ouvrier, Paris, Fayard.

Vinel J.-C., 2013, The Employee: a Political History, Philadelphie, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Yon, à paraître,« De quoi la démocratie sociale est-elle le nom ? Luttes idéologiques dans les relations professionnelles », Socio-économie du travail.