Workplace democracy: a European ideal? : discourses and practices about the democratization of work after 1945.
EURO-DEM studies with the methods of conceptual and social history, and political theory, the circulation of the idea of workplace democracy among European trade-unions and the academia after 1945. In the 20th century industrial democracy has been a vibrant movement that encompassed a broad spectrum of meanings, from internal union democracy over collective bargaining to co-determination at shop-floor, enterprise, industry and national economic level.
Since the beginning, trade unions have played a major role in the theoretical promotion and in the concrete management of workplace democracy in most European countries.
EURO-DEM is jointly hosted by the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin and the Institut für Soziale Bewegungen in Bochum.
The full project is available upon request. For further information about adverted positions, please contact directly sub-projects’ scientific coordinators.
The project is divided into four sub-projects. Each successful candidate will be assigned to one of these sub-projects but is expected to cooperate actively with all the team members.
Sub Project 1: The theoretical construction of “workplace democracy” between trade-unions and academic discourses
24 months Post-doc position at the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin, Germany
Profile: the candidate will have a phd in contemporary history, political science, or political theory. He/she will be fluent in English and in either French or German, with a passive command of the other language. Basic training in digital humanities and a familiarity with the research topic are an asset.
This research line studies the mutual influences and interactions between trade-union and academic disciplines in shaping discourses on workplace democracy. Its research object is the circulation of concepts among academic disciplines: in which disciplinary context did specific notions of workplace democracy or workers’ voice emerge and thrive? How are the disciplinary trajectories of concepts related to non-academic circumstances, such as in particular the geographically different and historically evolving role of other knowledge-producing institutions relevant for this field, in particular trade-unions? How did the professionalization of discourses outside academia, notably through trade-union foundations, affect academic discourses? Are references to trade-unions’ theoretical positions, or to trade-unions as democratic actors explicit? Adopting a comparative perspective, the research will consist in a desk study of discourses on workplace democracy across the spectrum of the social and political sciences since WW II.
For further information please contact: Roberto Frega (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sub Project 2: Workplace democracy – The contradiction between discourses and practices from 1975 to 2000
36 months PhD position at Office of Cooperation RUB/IGM, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Profile: Profile: the candidate will have a good Master degree in history, social science or a cognate subject. He/she will be fluent in English, German, and have a good command of at least one other language relevant to the research context. Familiarity with the research topic are an asset. The successful candidate will conduct research on examine how the situation of workplace democracy is experienced by the actors of workers’ representation – mainly works councils as the
main representatives on workplace level, but also trade union representatives. The contradictions of lived reality, academic discourse and political panel discussions will be investigated in a transnational perspective.
Workplace democracy is a concept that has been examined from different perspectives, such as ethics or economics, as well as referring to citizenship and general representation rights. There are numerous arguments supporting workplace democracy. However, the reality that workers’ representatives perceive often looks different. This project will examine how the situation of workplace democracy is experienced by the actors of workers’ representation – mainly works councils as the main representatives on workplace level, but also trade union representatives. The contradictions of lived reality, academic discourse and political panel discussions will be investigated. Among others, a special focus will be directed at the changes induced by the economic and social transformation, the decline of trade union memberships or the rise of precarious work.
For further information please contact: Manfred Wannöffel (email@example.com)
Sub Project 3: Self-Management. A "Franco-Yugoslav" model for Europe, 1945 – 1990
24 months Post-doc position at IDHE.S, Université d'Evry/Université Paris-Saclay, France
Profile: the candidate must hold a PhD in contemporary history or political science. He/she will be fluent in English and in either French or German, with a passive command of another European language. Familiarity with the research topic will be considered an asset.
In the aftermath of May 1968, and for another fifteen years, the concept of self-management (in French Autogestion) became central to the discourse of parts of the trade unions and the political Left in France as a radical version of the idea of workplace democracy. The genesis of a French self-management "model" cannot be understood without taking into account the system of selfmanagement in Tito's socialist Yugoslavia, from 1950 onwards. This is why it seems more accurate
to speak of a "Franco-Yugoslavian model". In the project, we will examine the dissemination and reception of the idea of self-management in the trade unions of Western European countries, but also among intellectuals and within political parties, from a comparative as well as from a transnational perspective and pursue the question of how the idea of self-management circulated.
For further information please contact: Frank Georgi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sub Project 4: ‘Co-determination’ – a German model for Europe, 1945 – mid 1990s
36 months PhD position at Institute for Social Movements / History of the Ruhr Foundation, Bochum, Germany
Profile: the candidate will have a good Master degree in history, political science or a cognate subject. He/she will be fluent in English, German, and have a good command of at least one other language relevant to the research context. Familiarity with the research topic are an asset. The successful candidate will conduct research on the degree to which ‘co-determination’ was a German model for other European countries in the period between 1945 and the mid-1990s.
Adopting a transnational perspective, the research will consist in a study of discourses on codetermination in Britain, France, Italy and Sweden. The German idea of ‘co-determination’ (Mitbestimmung) has provided one of the most discussed models of workplace democracy throughout the post WWII period. The project aims to provide the first sustained study of the circulation of the model of co-determination across different West European trade unions between the 1950s and the 1990s focussing on Britain, France, Italy and Sweden. It will also take into account the reception of those ideas among the employers’ federations and among the political parties that were often closely allied to the trade union movements. Furthermore, it will look at the academic discourse on co-determination and how it influenced the reception and positioning of trade unions towards this concept.
For further information please contact: Stefan Berger (email@example.com)
Starting date and duration
The starting date for the two phd positions is June 1st, 2021. The starting date for the two post-doc positions is flexible between June 1st, and October 1st, 2021.
Application must include
1) letter of motivation, specifying applicant's qualifications to carry on the chosen sub-project (max.
2) CV (max. 2 pages);
3) a sample of work or published paper (preferably in English).
5) names and contact information of two academic referees.
How to apply
Each application is intended for only one position in one of the four sub-projects and must specify for which sub-project the candidate applies.
Generic inquiries should be addressed to the two principal investigators (Roberto Frega and Stefan Berger). Specific inquiries concerning the positions should be addressed to sub-projects’ scientific coordinators.
Closing date for applications
We will accept applications until March 15th, 2021.
Shortlisted candidate will be contacted for an interview in the upcoming weeks.
Successful candidate will be informed before May 1st, 2021.