Rediscovering the Social Meaning of Work in a Democratic Society – A Philosophical Reconstruction

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This paper argues that occupational activity (work) provides a democratic politico-juridical order with a substantive foundation. Many modern theorists such as Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault have taken a broadly deflationary view of the role of work. However, the civic role of work is emphasised in the texts of Georg Kerschensteiner. This provides a starting point for the paper to develop a more democratic concept of work than Kerschensteiner envisaged. The paper uses the concept of a practice, suggested by Alistair MacIntyre in his 1981 text, After Virtue, as a way of developing a non-craft-based, collaborative conception of work. In this way the connection between work, conceived as a practice on the one hand, and the activity of democratic citizenship on the other, can become more evident. Rather than work being a marginal, private activity it is seen as one of the building blocks of a democratic polity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Number of pages21
JournalBWP@ - Berufs und Wirtschaftspädagogik (Vocational and business education)
Issue number01
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

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