For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Reclaiming Work, Beyond the Wage-Based Society

by Gorz, André (1999)

Key Passage

Work now retains merely a phantom centrality: phantom in the sense of a phantom limb from which an amputee might continue to feel pain. We are a society of phantom work, spectrally surviving the extinction of that work by virtue of the obsessive, reactive invocations of those who continue to see work-based society as the only possible society and who can imagine no other future than the return ,of the past. Such people do everyone the worst service imaginable Ey persuading us that there is no possible future, sociality, life or selffulfilment outside employment; by persuading us that the choice is between a job and oblivion; between inclusion through employment and exclusion; between 'identity-giving socialization through work' and collapse into the 'despair' of non-being. They persuade us it is right, normal, essential that 'each of us should urgently desire' what in actual fact no longer exists and will never again lie within everyone's grasp: namely, 'paid work in a permanent job', as the 'means of access to both social and personal identity', as 'a unique opportunity to define oneself and give meaning to one's life'. (p.58)


No Keywords


Gorz Citations


Turner, C.



How to contribute.