The New Story of Work: Politics, Spirituality, and Labor

April 15-16, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley CA

The New Story of Work conference brought together organizers, business and faith leaders, activists, and scholars to explore and strategize around the meaning of work and the significance of labor today.

We’ll be adding videos and papers from the conference in the coming weeks.

 Videos from the conference:

Annie Leonard, author and producer of the Story of Stuff, on the New Story of Work.

Ignite Talk: Christin Menzel Black, “Thank God it’s Monday: Working without Hierarchies”

Ignite Interfaith Panel:  Ameena Jandali, Melissa Prager   “Excavating our Traditions: The Meaning of Work”

Papers from the conference:

Justifying Looting in Times of Crisis, Yii-Jan Lin, published in Harvard Divinity School’s Cosmologics Magazine


Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world, take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later.  Major shifts in technology, globalization, and ideologies have reframed our understanding of work.  So, what’s the story?  What are the narratives that shape and challenge our understanding and experience of work and its purpose and meaning?

The conference itself was the result of the initial phase of the work, as quoteIgnite functions as a hub for an intentionally interdisciplinary process that explores how spirituality contributes to an understanding of what work is, how we engage changes in the economy and grassroots activism, and what resources religious traditions might offer the political conversation in a presidential election year.

Presented by:

Ignite Institute @ PSR

Pacific School of Religion

UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education

Sponsored by:

Bell Investment Advisors: Momentum for Life

The Nathan Cummings Foundation

Pam Laird and Mark Jacobsen

Suggested Readings:


Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth.

Behind the Kitchen Door

An Other Kingdom: Departing from Consumer Culture

Envisioning Real Utopias

United We Are a Force: Growing Deep Solidarity between Faith and Labor

Articles by visiting scholars: 

AND YOU WELCOMED ME?”: A Theological Response to the Militarization of the US–Mexico Borders and the Criminalization of Undocumented Migrants

Deep Solidarity: Beyond Charity and Advocacy


Jakada and DKIgnite Director Jakada Imani and author David Korten in an online conversation about the New Story of Work. David Korten is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, president of the Living Economies Forum, a member of the Club of Rome, and a former Harvard Business School professor. He is the author of numerous books, including Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth.