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Title: The promise of precarity? A strife for recognition of precarious subjectivities
Authors: DE COSTER, Marjan 
ZANONI, Patrizia 
Issue Date: 2018
Source: 5th Global Conference on Economic Geography (GCEG 2018), Cologne, Germany, 24-28/07/2018
Abstract: This paper examines the constitution and contestation of precarious subjectivities in contemporary capitalism. It addresses the contradiction between the two main bodies of victim of its conditions, the other drawing on Autonomist Marxist theory to highlight the potential of precarity as political space. Taking a Butlerean approach, we seek to bridge this inconsistency by understanding how the precarious subject is constituted in sociality through misrecognition and dispossession and how the recognition of mutual vulnerability might foster a relational politics that enables the strife for transformation and (re)subjectivization. Empirically, the paper draws on a Belgian cooperative ‘Coop’ which seeks to reunite, support and represent precarious workers in a highly institutionalized context. By doing so, it offers a space of contestation as the organization seeks to challenge the established norms. Through 30 semi-structured interviews, intensive observation and analysis of documentation, the study highlights how the precarious creatives working via Coop mainly draw on its services to be legally recognized as employee. As a consequence they get access to protection and have mental peace, which they consider necessary in the reproduction of their creative self. While members consider Coop’s strife for recognition essential in contemporary times, they don’t see themselves as active part of it. Rather, they outsource it to Coop, as a vanguard of their political strife, while they maintain the independency they long for.
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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