Transforming work: A critical literature review on degrowth, post-growth, postcapitalism and craft labor

Olga Vincent*, Amanda Brandellero

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many scholars have called for a profound change in capitalist growth-oriented provisioning systems and business models to help address the unique socio-ecological challenges of the 21st century. Reenvisaging how work is organised, constructed, and valued is an essential part of this change. Scholars of degrowth, post-growth, postcapitalist, and craft research have long discussed alternatives to capitalist work from different perspectives and levels of analysis. We believe that cross-fertilisation of ideas between these strands of literature can advance our imaginaries of the future of work and transition pathways towards the vision of dealienated labour. For this purpose, we bring these strands of literature into conversation by performing a critical literature review on work in postcapitalist, degrowth, post-growth, and craft scholarship. Overall, 121 articles were included in the analysis. We identify autonomy, dealienation, and value creation as common themes with complementary insights from the strands of literature. We also observe that macroeconomic policies suggested by degrowth, post-growth and postcapitalist scholars provide an institutional framework that can be compatible with the micropolitics of work, as documented by craft scholars. Lastly, craft scholars provide an empirically grounded analysis of what it means to engage in useful doing, whereas degrowth and postcapitalist literature mainly contains critical theoretical reflections on the decommodification of labour, recognition of reproductive labour and value creation. Degrowth, post-growth and postcapitalist literature can benefit from more empirical research investigating these issues in relation to the everyday realities of workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139640
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2023

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