Through the lens of work:
Capitalism, development, and social change
in the global South
APAD 2024 International Conference
Liège, 22-24 May 2024
The next APAD conference will be held in Liège, Belgium, from Wednesday the 22nd to Friday the 24th of May 2024. It proposes to analyse the dynamics of capitalism, development, and social change in the Global South through the lens of work. Work can be defined here as any activity contributing for the livelihood of individuals and groups. Far from being limited to salaried employment, it encompasses all economic practices, whether they participate to the sphere of production, exchange, or care. Using work as an analytical lens opens up a wide range of questions that touch upon – among others – the materiality of work and the use of technologies; the ethics of work and professional aspirations; work-related family configurations; social relations inside and outside work; careers and social mobility trajectories; gender, generational, class, and racial inequalities on the labour market; the forms of labour-value capture and processes of capital accumulation; or labour policies, and the dynamics of workers’ mobilization and representation.
The aim of the conference is twofold. On the one hand, it is to take a fresh look, from a work-centered perspective, at key themes in the tradition of APAD such as brokerage, political arenas, the functioning of state administrations, and the implementation of public policies. On the other hand, it is to open new avenues for studying development in its relationship with political economy and social change.
A total of 27 panels have been selected to make up the conference programme. You are invited to submit a paper proposal in one of these panels. Following a practice established in previous conferences, it is also possible to submit a paper proposal independently of the list of selected panels provided that it addresses one of the core themes of the conference:
- Set 1: Work and the worlds of development and humanitarian aid
- Set 2: Work and capitalism
- Set 3: Work and politics
- Set 4: Power relation at work
Organised in partnership with
Université de Liège
Set 1: work and the worlds of development and humanitarian aid
This first set of questions deals with the ways in which work in the development and aid sectors has changed in the past three decades.
To what extent employment in these has undergone a casualization/flexibilization process? How far have they witnessed a sociological change in their staff, especially between expatriate and national workers? How the gender, national, generational, or racial inequalities in these sectors have evolved? How the work of development and aid workers have been affected by the growing use of management techniques? How is the work of development and aid workers related to the logics of development? What development and human rights experts working for companies, religious organizations, or the state, do? What are the forms of unpaid or underpaid work involved in contemporary development and aid programmes?
Set 2: Work and capitalism
The second set of questions comes back to an old issue in development studies, the interrelationship between capital and labour in the global South.
How can we analyse entrepreneurial work? What are the capital accumulation processes at work, both in the ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ sectors? What forms of work regulation do they involve? What are effects of new workforce management practices (digitalization, outsourcing, etc.)? To what forms of mediation and resistance are these practices confronted? How workers express their collective identities? What material, social, and cultural resources do they use? How can we study the intersectionality of work relations (gender, race, etc.) and their sectorial dimension? Is it possible to identify, beyond specific sectors, cities, or countries, broader regional dynamics? What are the new labour migration routes and patterns, including to Europe and North America? What have been the consequences of the Covid19 crisis on work relations?
Set 3: Work and politics
This third set of questions focuses on state labour policies and forms of workers’ politization – two understudied issues in the anthropology of development.
What is the place of labour in states’ and international organisations’ development strategies? What has been the effect of the ‘neoliberal’ turn in this field of intervention? How has labour legislation evolved? How are labour policies implemented and negotiated? To what extent is labour an important matter for political leaders? How workers defend their interests in the political arena? What is the role of unions, cooperatives, and other professional associations? How do they influence labour policies, and the political game more generally? What is the place of law in labour disputes? How far the labour question plays a role in changes of political regime? How can analyse the transformations of work in state administrations?
Set 4: Power relations at work
Cross-cutting the other sets, this last set of questions aims to examine the ways in which power relations in the workplace are negotiated and experienced from intersectional perspective including gender, age, class, race, ethnicity, disability, and other categories of difference.
What are the most salient criteria of social stratification involved in work relations? How can we account for the work experience of minorities, racialized and other subaltern groups? How do workers make sense of the international and/or sexual division of labour, and global processes of exploitation, trafficking, and discrimination? What is the weight of wage work, especially for women, in power structural dynamics? How can we analyse the work/non-work boundary when the two are intertwined, or completely overlap? What kinds of arrangement women and men find to articulate their different social times while earning their livelihood? What are the modes of organization, resistance, compromise, claim, or contestation involved in the face of the different power relations in the labour process?
Call for papers
Paper proposals must be submitted on the APAD website (https://apad-association.org/) by the 15th November 2023. They should be no longer than 3000 characters and written in the language of the panel proposal (English or French). For further information, please contact the organising committee by email (email@example.com).
The panel convenors will be responsible for selecting the paper proposals. Those who have submitted a paper proposal will be informed of the outcome of this selection process by the 1st of December 2023.
The opportunity to ask participants to send their full paper in advance will be left to the discretion of the panel convenors.
The conference is bilingual. The working languages are French and English.
The conference will be held at the University of Liege from Wednesday the 22nd to Friday the 24th of May 2024. The nearest international airport is Brussels-Zaventem. For participants coming from Europe, Liège is easily accessible by train as well as by plane (through Brussels-Zaventem or Brussels-Charleroi).
Registration fees are €170 (full rate) and €110 (reduced rate, for participants with a total monthly income of less than €800/month). Paid-up APAD members benefit from a special rate of €120 (full rate) and 85€ (reduced rate). This fee includes coffee breaks and a welcome cocktail, but not meals (there are plenty places to eat around the campus).
(total monthly income above 800 €)
(total monthly income below 800 €)
Special rate for paid-up APAD members in 2024
A limited number of scholarships will be available for doctoral students and young researchers from the South whose paper proposal has been accepted in a panel. Those wishing to apply for a scholarship will be asked to tick the corresponding box when submitting their paper, provide their professional details, and justify their request in a box.
15 September 2023 : opening of the call for papers
15 Novembre 2023 : deadline for paper proposals submission
15 December 2023 : final list of panels and papers
Absi, Pascale, IRD, CESSMA, Université Paris Cité (France)
Allal Amin, CNRS, CERAPS, Université de Lille (France)
Cissokho, Sidy, CNRS, CLERSE, Université de Lille (France)
Cuvi, Jacinto, CECID, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgique)
Dougnon, Isaïe, Université de Bamako (Mali) et Fordham University (USA)
Fresia, Marion, Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse)
Guérin, Isabelle, IRD, CESSMA, Université Paris Cité (France)
Ndiayi, Alfred, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis (Sénégal)
Poncelet, Marc, Université de Liège (Belgique)
Selim, Monique, IRD, CESSMA, Université Paris Cité (France)
Sophie Andreetta (Univ. Liège, Belgique)
Sylvie Ayimpam (IMAF, France)
Isabelle Borsus (Univ. de Liège, Belgique)
Elieth Eyebiyi (Lasdel, Bénin)
Philippe Lavigne Delville (IRD, France)
Alexis Roy (CNRS, France)
Benjamin Rubbers (Univ Liège, Belgique)
Marie Schnitzler (Univ. Liège, Belgique)
Ngna Traoré (ISH, Mali)
Lorena Ulloa (Univ. Liège, Belgique)
Charlotte Vampo (IRD, France)