Which labor for the ecological transition? Call for abstract – ESEE 2022

Call for abstract @ European Society for Ecological Economics 2022 Pisa Conference:

Conference website and info: https://esee2022pisa.ec.unipi.it/

Special Sessions Page: https://esee2022pisa.ec.unipi.it/special-sessions-participation/

Special Session:
Which labor for the ecological transition? Work transformations, welfare policies and social movements in the era of climate justice

Environmental concerns have led scholars to acknowledge the need of new socio-economic paradigms to address the current unsustainable model. Discussions addressed the potential contradictions between increasing demands of social protection, the ongoing transformation of productive processes, and the emergence of new social risks produced by climate change. Concepts such as just transition (JT), sustainable welfare (SW), and climate justice (CJ) have been elaborated to address the emerging societal issues as part of a broader response to the ecological crisis.

However, it still seems difficult to effectively tackle the trade-offs between employment issues, social security and environmental protection, to take into account the growing contradictions between historical, technological and biological processes. As a matter of fact, labor, welfare and sustainability scholars still struggle to promote integrated research processes to better understand the dynamics of the crisis, its employment-related effects and the responses put in place by policies and social movements.

In this session, we seek both theoretical and empirical contributions expanding the debate on labor and eco-social transitions. In particular, we invite papers examining three interrelated aspects:

  • Employment risks and labour market transformations as engendered by combined ecological-technological transition programmes (e. g. green policies, energy transition plans, productive processes restructuring);
  • The role of social and labor policies in addressing the eco-social crisis and the possible emerging patterns of JT (e. g. minimum/basic income, working time reduction, social investment and active labor policies, life-long learning, green job creation, etc.);
  • working-class environmentalism in the context of CJ and the interplay – conflictual or convergent – between trade unions and environmental justice movements.

Finally, we particularly welcome case studies which contribute to respond to the following questions:

  1. How can we advance conceptual understanding of labor and welfare transformations from a JT, SW or CJ perspective?
  2. How can we generate new empirical data on workplace and social implications of ecological transitions in both large-scale and context-based research projects?
  3. Which methods may be useful for investigating complex processes on the ground where social and political actors face multiple trade-offs and conflicts?


Maura Benegiamo – University of Pisa, mbenegiamo@gmail.com

Marta Bonetti – University of Pisa marta.bonetti@for.unipi.it

Emanuele Leonardi* – University of Bologna emanuele.leonardi3@unibo.it

Matteo Villa – University of Pisa matteo.villa@unipi.it

* Contact person