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Workplace Democracy Revisited: Labour and Practices of Participation, Workers’ Control and Self-Management in Global Perspective. 54th ITH Conference

Berichte | Tagungsbericht | Konferenz | vom 06.09.2018 | bis zum 08.09.2018 | ITH - International Conference of Labour and Social History
Logo  ITH - International Conference of Labour and Social History
Logo ITH - International Conference of Labour and Social History

Unter dem Titel „Workplace Democracy Revisited: Labour and Practices of Participation, Workers’ Control and Self-Management in Global Perspective. 54th ITH Conference“ fand vom 06.09.2018 - 08.09.2018 in Linz eine mehrtägige Konferenz statt. Anlässlich der Jahrestage der Revolutionen 1918 und der 1968er-Bewegung beschäftigte sich die Konferenz mit den unterschiedlichen Formen demokratischer Partizipation und dem Zusammenhang zwischen revolutionären Umbrüchen und der Demokratisierung in der Arbeitswelt.

Two anniversaries set the agenda for the yearly ITH Conference, the long-standing forum of labour historians. While it was the centennial anniversary of the Russian Revolution last year, this year the anniversaries of the revolutions in Central Europe in 1918 and the movement of 1968 motivated the conference organisers to examine different forms of democratic participation and self-management at the workplace. Thereby, they built on last year’s conference on “Revolutions and Labour Relations”, as it often were revolutionary upheavals that paved the way for workplace democratization. In the end, it was the revolution around 1918 that led to respective changes in the field of labour law, while the movements around 1968 also had impacts on industrial relations in many countries; today, a fact little known even among historians. Above all, these historical movements involved a variety of specific attempts of self-management at the workplace, either by workers taking over existing capitalist enterprises or by workers establishing new companies.

The range of research on this topic is vast. However, as the conference organisers outlined in their call for papers, most studies – usually oriented towards the political history of the labour movement or alternative company history – would overlook issues regarding labour relations and the inner workings of workplace democracy. Thus, the clarification and categorisation of terms and conceptualisations as well as the examination of actual practices of workers’ involvement and decision-making were defined as goals of the conference.

Den gesamten Tagungsbericht von Lukas Neissl für H-Soz-Kult können Sie hier weiterlesen.


Keynote Lecture

Dario Azzellini (ILR School, Cornell University, Ithaca): Liberating Labour? The Multiple Facets of Workplace Democracy in Space and Time

Panel I: Strike, Occupation, Control: Exercising Workers’ Power

Ralf Hoffrogge (Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-University Bochum): Councils and
Revolution – Workers’ Self-Management as Theory and Practice of Political Mobilisation in the German Revolution 1918/1919

Ugnė Marija Andrijauskaité (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas): Taking Matters into Their Own Hands: Lithuanian Bakers in 1920s-1930s

Ettore Bucci (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa): Autogestion (1965-1970): A Transnational Sign of Change?

Dietmar Lange (Freie Universität Berlin): Workers’ Autonomy and Workers’ Control in the Largest European Automotive Plant: The Factory Council at FIAT Mirafiori

Panel II: Involving the Workforce − Changing Workers’ Subjectivities

András Tóth (Institute of Political Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest) / Eszter Bartha (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest): Role of Craft Unions in Ensuring Practical Ownership of Workplaces in the Pre-War Period in Hungary

Frank Georgi (Centre d’Histoire Sociale du XXème Siècle / Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne): The Iron Law of Self-Management? The Boimondau “Community of Work” Experiment (France, 1941-1971)

Orestis Varkarolis (Nottingham Trent University) / Daniel King (Nottingham Trent University): Co-Evolving Decision-Making for Integrated Self-Management: The Case of the Worker Cooperatives Network of Athens

Panel III: Self-Organizing, Market and Democracy in State-steered Economies in Eastern and Southern Europe During the Cold War

Vladan Vukliš (Archives of the Republic of Srpska, Banjaluka): Self-Management in the Bosnian Ljubija Iron Mines in the early 1960s: A Case Study

Dirk Dalberg (Institute of Political Science, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava): (Workers’) Self-Management as Alternative Model to Socialism with a Human Face and Bourgeois Democracy: The Czech Perspective

Anna Delius (Freie Universität Berlin): Social Necessity or Human Right? Workers and Intellectuals discussing Self-Organization in Alternative Press Publications in Francoist Spain and in State Socialist Poland in the 1960s and 1970s

Panel IV: Labour Participation and Nation Building

Brigitte Pellar (Vienna): “The People are also ready to hold Economic Democracy”: Participation, Empowerment and Self-Management in Austria after both World Wars

Nikolas Lelle (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): National Socialism and the “German Worker”

Jasmin Ramović (University of Manchester): Economy and Inter-Ethnic Cohesion in Former Yugoslavia: Reflections on Socialist Self-Management

Peyman Jafari (University of Amsterdam / International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam): Workers’ Control during the Iranian Revolution: The Case of the Oil Industry

Panel V: Institutionalizing Workplace Democracy under Trans/National Regulatory Regimes

Holger Czitrich-Stahl (Förderkreis Archive und Bibliotheken zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, Berlin): The Development of German Labour Law between Revolution and Domestication: The Struggle over Laws as a Means for the Democratisation of Work in the 19th Century

Stan De Spiegelaere (European Trade Union Institute, Brussels): The Non-Advent of Economic Democracy in Belgium: A Focus on the Christian Trade Union

Sara Lafuente Hernández (European Trade Union Institute, Brussels) / Sophie Rosenbohm (University of Duisburg-Essen) / Mona Aranea (Cardiff University): Forging European Co-Determination: The Experience of Board-level Employee Representatives in European Companies (SE)

Panel VI: Participatory Impulses and the Dynamics of Neoliberal Cooptation

Cian McMahon (National University of Ireland, Galway): The Political Economy of Worker Cooperative Development in Ireland

Benjamin Ferschli (Johannes Kepler University Linz / Vienna University of Economics and Business): Capitalism without Bosses: Control over the Labour Process in the Self-Managing Firm

Wolfgang G. Weber (University of Innsbruck) & Christine Unterrainer (University of Innsbruck): The Specific Practice of Democracy in Democratic Companies and their Psychological and Societal Potential

Roundtable: Classifying Workplace Democracy across Geographic, Cultural and Historical Contexts