En quels sens le travail vivant est-il une catégorie politique?

Translated title of the contribution: In what sense is living labour a political category?

Jean-Philippe Deranty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper seeks to clarify some of the methodological and conceptual stakes involved in the attempt to think about politics from the point of view of "living labour". In order to avoid confusions further down the track, a formal analysis of the different possible meanings of "politics" is proposed. Politics is first defined as the series of problems that arise when separate individual lives attempt to organise a common life in common. Four types of problems can be identified on the basis of this initial definition, beyond the questions concerning the origin and justification of power, or the structure of the institutions of government. Following a brief characterisation of the paradigm of living labour, with reference to key texts by Marx and Dejours, this paradigm is then put into practice to provide initial answers to the questions raised in the preliminary analysis. First, the meaning of the fundamental norms of social life (equality, liberty, solidarity) is transformed from the point of view of living labour. Secondly, the implicit social ontology on the basis of which political questions are raised is also altered if viewed from the perspective of living labour, as social partitioning acquires a more specific dimension once conflicts around work are taken into account. Finally, the experience of living labour is a condition of democratic life as it determines the acquisition of personal dispositions which represent not only a prepolitical foundation of democratic activity, but are in fact directly involved in the actual process of collective decision-making.

Translated title of the contributionIn what sense is living labour a political category?
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • living work
  • Karl Marx
  • Christophe Dejours
  • politics
  • democracy


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