“I certainly wouldn’t call it work anymore” – The Reconfiguration of Work in Italy during the 1970s from a Historical Semantics Perspective
At the end of the 1970s, with the onset of the post-boom crisis, the rejection of regulated labour and the theorisation of its liberation through precarisation and flexi-bilisation became part of a cultural and social semantics for the young gen-eration of workers entering the wage labour system. Their motto was “freeing labour to free life from labour”. Through both a quantitative and quali-tative historical semantic analysis of the sources, this contribution examines the medium- and long-term impacts of this reconfiguration on the practices of regulated and controlled wage labour. It also aims to offer an initial reflection on the use of the historical semantic approach for contemporary history and its possible – or rather, necessary – differentiation from other forms of discourse analysis.