Precari-Us?

Full textMute, n.29, 2005. Republished at RepublicArt, March 2005. In German as “Prekär – Wir ?” In Greek as Εμείς επισφαλείς;.

domesticlabFew could be unaware that an increasing proportion of the workforce is engaged in intermittent or irregular work. But I’d like to set aside for the moment the weight and scope of the evidentiary, those well-rehearsed findings that confirm beyond doubt the discovery and currency of precariousness and which render the axiomatic terrain upon which such facts are discovered beyond reproach. Instead, I would like to explore something of the grammar at work in these discussions. As a noun, ‘precariousness’ is both more unwieldy and indeterminate than most. If it is possible to say anything for certain about precariousness, it is that it teeters. This is to begin by emphasising some of the tensions that shadow much of the discussion about precarious labour. Some of those tensions can be located under various, provisional headings which bracket the oscillation between regulation and deregulation, organisation and dissemination, homogenous and concrete time, work and life.

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