The Ruins of the Future. a Glance into Precariousness from inside the Crisis

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 13:15
Location: Auditorium Maximum (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Benjamin TEJERINA, University of the Basque Country, Spain
The concept of precariousness has gained currency in recent years as its effects have expanded from the most marginalized and vulnerable social sectors to the traditional middle class.

On the one hand, a central feature of contemporary precariousness is its displacement from the periphery of society, from the margins, to the center of modern societies. On the other, contemporary precariousness is characterized for its impacts on dimensions such as work, income, housing, environment, social and cultural capital, or health, to name some of the aspects quantified and measured systematically.

The dynamics of these processes of precariousness have come to affect the very center of society, i.e. those professional and educated medium classes who continue to experience a progressive weakening and erosion of their living conditions, although feeling privileged when comparing themselves to other social groups.

Globalization has helped increase wealth, but is not serving to improve its distribution to the point that, in fact, globalization is contributing to increasing inequality.

The crisis that began in 2007 has only increased and accelerated the redistribution process that begun decades earlier. It started in the 1970s with the implementation of neoliberal policies and, subsequently, with budgetary cuts in the social supports of the welfare state. Are these the ruins we want to leave to future generations? Will these structures of inequality of today be the ruins to be visited by sociologists of the future to understand the roots of their own society?

The Spanish case, far from being an exception, is an example that can be found in other European, American or Asian countries. From the use of statistical data from Living Conditions Survey, between 1995 and 2013, we intend to explore the processes of precariousness of the Spanish population, across different generations, with special attention to the impact of the recent crisis.