The concept of work and the critical social theory

José Antonio Noguera, Marie David, Patricio Nusshold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Present discussions on the concept of work have not always established clearly some of the central tenets that this concept has acquired in the tradition of critical social theory which begins with Marx. This tradition has often emphasized the relationship between work and human emancipation. In this direction, the article adds three conceptual dichotomies to the more traditional one of "valuation vs. disdain" of work: wide vs. reduced concept of work, productivism vs. antiproductivism, and normative centrality vs. non-centrality of work. From this standpoint, the article criticizes some commonplaces about Marx's concept of work, and list some ways in which later Marxist traditions have develop this concept. Specifically, Habermas' concept of work is analyzed and criticized in the last part of the article. © Martin Média.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-192
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


  • Critical theory
  • Habermas
  • Marx
  • Social theory
  • Work


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