The Department of ethics and philosophy at Lille Catholic University is organizing a two-day international conference on Workplace democracy: Arguments, policies, practices, which will be held in Lille (France), January 28th and 29th, 2016.

While democracy is usually taken for granted within the political sphere, it usually draws less attention in the economic realm and our societies tolerate highly undemocratic forms of economic organizations, which prompts many questions: How is it possible to question this asymmetry? Does justice require democracy in the workplace? How can we make sense of democratic ideals within economic organizations? Is it possible to draw an analogy between states and business firms? Which institutional forms can workplace democracy take? What are the best theoretical frameworks to articulate the ideals of workplace democracy? This international conference aims to bring together experts in political philosophy, business ethics, sociology, history, political science, economy and management around these issues.

More specifically, this conference aims to move beyond “minimalist” understandings of workplace democracy usually described under the label of “participatory management” and to investigate more demanding conceptions of the democratization of workplaces. Submissions will therefore focus on workers control, worker cooperatives, labor-managed firms, redistribution of power within firms, formal rights of decision-making for workers, etc.

Papers will focus on the normative or empirical aspects of workplace democracy. We invite submissions on the following themes (broadly conceived):
– Justifications of and problems with the democratization of workplaces
– Workplace democracy as a political project
– Which theoretical models of democracy?
– Economic and political obstacles to workplace democracy
– Workplace democracy and democratic citizenship: Can workplace democracy make better citizens ?
– Justice and/or democracy in workplaces?
– Division of labor, shared tasks and job rotation in democratic workplaces
– Gender and race inequality and workplace democracy
– Unions and workplace democracy: is there a conflict?
– Is workplace democracy the left’s new big idea?
– Emancipation, empowerment and cooperatives
– Links between scholarly works and activism

Organizers: Pierre-Yves Néron & Camille Ternier

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