Vol. 17, n.2 - CFP Language and economy


Call for papers - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio www.rifl.unical.it

Vol. 17, N. 2/2023     Language and economy

Edited by C. Marazzi, M. Mazzeo, A. Bertollini


Submission deadline: June 10, 2023


The traditional productive world is marked by a clear-cut dichotomy: “it’s work or talk.” Whether it is the farmer dealing with sowing, the fisherman in the middle of the sea, or the worker forced into the assembly line, the equation returns. Talking is disturbing: it wastes the farmer’s time, it draws the fish away from the net, it distracts the industrial worker tending to run away from the factory.

At the beginning of the 21st century, we are witnessing the strengthening of a paradigm not only different from the previous one but also inverted. “You want to work? Then talk!” In the age of financial capitalism, post or hypermodern world, neoliberal and risk-taking society (whichever wording you prefer), it has to be said that work and language become sides of the same coin. This pervasive process shows two characteristics on which this issue would like to offer a contribution of critical reflection. The first characteristic consists in the ubiquitous nature of the phenomenon, which certainly concerns the “high” spheres of production. Financial capitalism is organized by all-linguistic entities like calculation algorithms, by bets about the future performance of companies and speculative products, and by stock market effects related to real performative acts like the famous “whatever it takes” with which the president of the European Central Bank helped decide the fate of the Eurozone in 2012.

The linguistic nature of work, however, is also visible from below: its most recent and expanding forms clearly draw on what F. de Saussure called “language faculty”, on L. Vygotsky’s “verbal thought,” and on the ability to understand and tell stories, which is now the focus of multidisciplinary interest. Digital platforms are not only huge global corporations but also production sites of life as such, in which entertainment, communication, work and affection are constantly intermingled. The rider and the call-center, the real estate agent and the social media manager are all figures who make a living through the ability to sustain word-centered social relationships and their cognitive and semiotic entanglements. Precisely because it is so broad, this landscape is still lacking a comprehensive critical description, especially from the perspective of philosophies of language.

The second aspect of the problem is purely theoretical. What are the anthropological, ethical and political consequences of the fusion of work and language? Is the phenomenon leading to the end of the concept of “work,” understood as the buying and selling of human abilities in market society, or is it decreeing its endless expansion? In this process, are language and human cognitive abilities themselves being twisted? And, if so, how? Is there a relationship between the assertion of linguistic work and the widespread feeling that history, meant as the properly human time of transformations of means of production and institutions, is now over?


In light of these considerations, this issue of the journal will welcome essays that explore, even though non-exclusively, the following themes:


  1. The relationship between financial economics and performative acts, both illocutionary and perlocutionary;
  2. The linguistic-semiotic description of contemporary forms of production;
  3. The contribution to the language-work question according to the theoretical perspective of “operaism”;
  4. The analysis of the relationship between commodity, labor and semiosis from Rossi Landi’s writings;
  5. The perspective of “capital as semiotic operator” introduced by Guattari;
  6. The possible reinterpretation of the notion of the Anthropocene from a linguistic-work perspective, in terms of “Capitalocene”;
  7. The relationship between linguistic work and cognitive research on “extended mind” and Embodied Cognition;
  8. The language-work pair and Vygotsky’s research on mind, sign and tool;
  9. The emergence or redefinition of affects, passions, care relationships that can be described as typical of a world dominated by linguistic work;
  10. Childhood, schooling, and training in the age of “I speak, therefore I work”;
  11. Political institutions related to the most recent semiotic-linguistic production processes.



We call for articles in Italian, English and French. All manuscripts must be accompanied by an abstract (max 250 words), a title and 5 keywords in English.

The manuscript must be prepared using the template at this link: http://www.rifl.unical.it/authortemplate/template_eng.doc.

All submissions must be prepared by the author for anonymous evaluation. The name, affiliation to an institution and title of the contribution should be indicated in a file different from that which contains the text. The contribution must be sent in electronic format .doc or .rtf to segreteria.rifl@gmail.com.


Instructions for authors:

Maximum contribution length:

40000 characters (including spaces) for articles (including bibliography and endnotes);


Submission deadline: June 10, 2023

Publication: December 2023