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Slavery, Work and Freedom: What Can Cash Transfers Contribute to the Fight for Decent Work?

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 WorkFREE project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the WorkFREE project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "WorkFREE" about.

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Project "WorkFREE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: BATH
postcode: BA2 7AY

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙499˙203 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙203 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-01-01   to  2024-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF BATH UK (BATH) coordinator 1˙324˙203.00
2    INBI FOUNDATION IN (HYDERABAD) participant 100˙000.00
3    OPENDEMOCRACY LIMITED UK (LONDON) participant 75˙000.00


 Project objective

WorkFREE builds on the widespread empirical observation that everywhere people who are stuck in indecent, exploitative or ‘unfree’ work nevertheless choose that work because doing so represents their best available option, and asks a simple yet potentially revolutionary question: What happens if we just give them money? It will answer this question by creating a world-first social experiment. This will involve a community in the Indian city of Hyderabad typically associated with indecent or exploitative work – waste picking. Members of this community will receive 18 months of unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) and also engage in Participatory Action Research (PAR) with the WorkFREE team. WorkFREE will thus become the first project anywhere to combine research on cash transfers (CTs), PAR and labour (un)freedom. It will also innovate methodologically, employing a unique combination of ethnography, surveys, and participatory qualitative techniques. This will allow the WorkFREE team – myself (the PI), the in-country Research Manager, a post-doctoral evaluation specialist, two anthropology PhD students, and a number of junior researchers at the project’s Indian partner research university – to answer a question at the heart of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): What can cash transfers contribute to the fight for decent work? It will further enable the co-creation of grounded theory around concepts central to the SDGs, including freedom, slavery, consent, coercion, vulnerability, exploitation, emancipation and (in)decent work. This, in turn, could call into question prevailing, hegemonic theorisations of these concepts, along with mainstream approaches to generating those theorisations and the policies with which they are associated. In this way, WorkFREE will push the empirical, theoretical and political boundaries at the intersection of development studies, labour studies, social theory and social policy. Given its focus and approach, it will also contribute to cognate debates around Social Protection (SP) and Unconditional Basic Income (UBI), positioning Europe at the forefront of contemporary efforts to achieve social justice in globalised market society.

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The information about "WORKFREE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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