Autonomy and Automation: Work in the 21st Century (Zed series)

Last year I was contacted by Kim Walker at Zed books to put together a book series in collaboration with Autonomy. I’m pleased to say that our first book  by Mark Bergfeld is nearing completion now and we have 4 more on the way.  We hope to build this momentum throughout 2020. With that in mind, the open call for proposals is below:

The labour market has been hollowed out and the future of work lies in the shadow of political crises. Many have argued that this growing social polarisation is driven by technological change. However, research has not kept up with the speed at which these changes are occurring. Social protections for workers are being eroded across the globe and technology is arguably catalysing this trend. Historically, the loss of employment in one industry has been more than offset by the expansion of employment in other industries. Yet, this employment tends to emerge under different social conditions. Research has often neglected how new technologies have catalysed exploitation, rather than helped workers overcome it.

This new series in collaboration with Zed aims to explore the rapidly changing nature of existing jobs as well as the variety of emergent occupations in new sectors. It takes technological change neither as an inherently liberatory force nor as an inherently constraining force, but rather as a function of social relations. Topics could include anything from sociological analysis of particular technical changes in industry such as the introduction of platforms and AI, to detailed ethnographies of particular experiences of workers themselves such as those of migrant carers, delivery drivers or freelance coders.

Proposals: We solicit academics and non-academics to write punchy, trade-oriented, 30-40,000 word books on the above themes. Proposals should have the weight and rigour of academic thought, yet be accessible to a general audience.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the series, please contact for further information.

Series editors:

Matt Cole – Post-Doctoral Fellow in Work and Employment, University of Leeds

Kendra Briken – Chancellor’s Fellow in Work and Employment, Strathclyde University

Will Stronge – Co-director of Autonomy

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