THE “INVENTION OF WORK”: historicity of a concept in the works of André Gorz, Dominique Méda, Françoise Gollain and Serge Latouche
After the publishing of Farewell to the Working Class, in 1980, the understanding of labor as a historically specific activity peculiar to capitalist modernity is one of the major tenets of the theoretical edifice built by André Gorz. Labor is closely related to the emergence of an economic realm disembedded from society and, as abstract labor, to the irrational end in itself of the valorization of value. In this article, we aim to characterize in detail the evolution of the concept of labor in Gorz's main works and, then, to compare the gorzian notion of the historicity of labor with the ideas of three francophone authors: Dominique Méda, Françoise Gollain and Serge Latouche. We will assess the similarities and the divergences that exist among the mentioned authors. Finally it will be emphasized that the reasons suggested for the historical emergence of labor can be better grasped in the common embryonic context provided by the “military revolution”, in the 16th century, which marks the beginning of the modern age in the western world.