The Precariat

Matthew T Johnson (Editor), Bill Jordanu, Daryl Glasers, Ben Trott, Timothy S. Murphyu, Joseph J. Varga, Angela Wigger, Susan Banki, Wanda Vrasti, Hanna-Mari Ikonen, Jeremy Morris, Emiliana Armano, Annalisa Murgia, Nancy Ettlinger, Mauro Turrini, Federic Chicchi, Heather McLean, Mark Edward, Stuart Elden, Ian BuchananMark Purcell, Catherine Lawlor, Jörg Wiegratz, Jo Grady, Guy Standing, Juliana Bidadanure

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationSpecial issue


In his recent work, Guy Standing has identified a new class which has emerged from neo-liberal restructuring with, he argues, the revolutionary potential to change the world: the precariat. This is‘a class-in-the-making, internally divided into angry and bitter factions’ consisting of ‘a multitude of insecure people, living bits-and-pieces lives, in and out of short-term jobs, without a narrative of occupational development, including millions of frustrated educated youth who do not like what they see before them, millions of women abused in oppressive labour, growing numbers of criminalised tagged for life,millions being categorised as“disabled”and migrants in their hundreds of millions around the world. They are denizens; they have a more restricted range of social, cultural, political and economic rights than citizens around them’ (Standing 2011b). Like multitude before it, precariat has reached the popular consciousness both because of timely salience and comprehensible articulation. In essence, Precariat taps into increasing discontent and dissatisfaction among a range of groups and stokes in people–particularly educated younger people in Western countries–the hope of connection and collaboration with radically different cohorts from radically different backgrounds–a hope which significantly pre-dates the activities of 1968. Succinctly placing the possibility of praxis within dispiriting global circumstances, Standing has produced a foundation upon which, potentially, a host of academic and political programmes may emerge.This issue of Global Discourse seeks to explore the nature, shape and context of precariat, evaluating the internal consistency and application of the concept, particularly with regard to: changes in the sociology of class; democracy, participation and representation; the relationship between precariat and multitude; the means by which precariat might become a‘class-for-itself’; place, migration and globalization; poverty and precarity; the subjective experience of precarity, and forms of resistance. The articles published reflect the extent, both with regard to paradigmatic engagement and site of study, to which the concept has permeated the consciousness of academics and those subject to precariousness (indeed, the former appear increasingly to be included in the latter).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages175
Specialist publicationGlobal Discourse
PublisherBristol University Press
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


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