Re-thinking Work and Welfare for the Social-Ecological Transformation


  • Francesco Laruffa SOCIUM - Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, University of Bremen



Social-Ecological Transformation, Capability Freedom, Neoliberalism, Social Citizenship, Work


This essay proposes a theory of post-neoliberal social citizenship, re-imagining the work-welfare nexus with a view to articulating individual freedom and social solidarity; democratic renewal and environmental sustainability. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective, the essay first interrogates the relationship between work and freedom, problematizing the neoliberal understanding of emancipation as labour market empowerment. It then suggests, drawing from the feminist literature, a conceptualization of work beyond paid employment as the “practice of taking care of the world”. This conceptualization is politicized: it demands democratic deliberation for establishing its precise meaning and can provide the basis for both new solidarities and democratic renewal. The essay thus sketches a model of post-neoliberal eco-social citizenship, which reconciles individual emancipation (from and within the labour market) with democratization and environmental sustainability. In this context, participatory-deliberative democracy partially substitutes the market mechanism as a system for evaluating the value of human activities and for coordinating individuals’ freedoms. This allows increasing the democratic control over the economy for directing it towards the promotion of sustainable social welfare, enhancing human flourishing opportunities for all within planetary boundaries.


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How to Cite

Laruffa, F. (2022). Re-thinking Work and Welfare for the Social-Ecological Transformation. Sociologica, 16(1), 123–151.