„New work“, „Mixed work“, „A society of activities rather than a society of employment“. A literature-based study on the current state of the debate about extended concepts of work.

A study commissioned by the Hans-Böckler Foundation

project management: Univ.-Doz. Dr. Beate Littig (IHS)

project implementation: Mag. Markus Spitzer (ÖIN), Univ.-Doz. Dr. Beate Littig (IHS)

The proponents of new working schemes advocate an extension of the traditional concept of gainful employment as a social key concept for different reasons, which all boil down to one central aim: to achieve an increased valorisation and recognition of autonomous and reproductive work or civil involvement as equally valid and socially necessary activities.

Over the years, research interest in the area of new working schemes has focused on a range of topics, according to respective social situation, scientific approach and current topical political/economic issues. In the late 60ies, the discussion initiated within the new women’s movement, and in the late 70ies, increasing unemployment represented one main reason for the continued interest in the topic. Throughout the 90ies, the crisis of the Fordist working society exacerbated and environmental objections entered the discussion.

Due to this wide range of approaches, the resulting concepts show a variety of emphases, ranging from equality and achieving full employment to curbing non-sustainable growth. Political interest in new working schemes only seems to have rekindled in the wake of the recent financial crisis whose end is not yet in sight, the growth in short-term employment, increasing unemployment and high public debts. These developments form the backdrop to the present research project, which aims at evaluating the concepts for new working schemes currently being discussed.

Littig, Beate; Spitzer, Markus (2011): Arbeit neu. Erweiterte Arbeitskonzepte im Vergleich. Literaturstudie zum Stand der Debatte um erweiterte Arbeitskonzepte. Working paper 229. Dusseldorf: Hans-Böckler-Foundation.