The Modernity of Voluntary Servitude. A Critical Edition and Reassessment of the History of the Reception of Étienne de La Boétie's “Discours de la servitude volontaire”

With his notion of “voluntary servitude,” Étienne de La Boétie (1530-1563) formulated a completely new and idiosyncratic approach to the critique of domination. His reflections on emancipation and political enlightenment testify to an extremely modern understanding of structures of domination and of the dynamics of power. In addition to a new edition of the text (to be published by Felix Meiner), the research project deals with the historical reception of La Boétie by Johann B. Erhard (1766-1827) and Gustav Landauer (1870-1919) and with the question of the “modernity of voluntary servitude” that arises in relation to contemporary social and political transformation processes (in the field of work, in relations of recognition, and with regard to new forms of authoritarianism).