The Affective Politics of the Precariat

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 41
Oral Presentation
Jennifer Jihye CHUN , University of Toronto, Canada
What are the consequences of the new world of precarity on the political possibilities of collective transformation? In his influential 2011 book on the Precariat, Guy Standing argues that the lived experiences of chronic and pervasive insecurity for precarious-employed workers has undermined the collective politics of resistance and solidarity. Not only does the process of precaritisation deprive workers of the affective ties and associational bonds associated with clear occupational and labour union membership, but the low-paid, insecure, and fragmented nature of precarious jobs intensifies the felt and embodied experience of “being rootless,” denied the relations of trust, accountability, empathy and solidarity that characterized the previous era of industrial jobs that defines the class condition for the precariat. In this presentation, I will reflect on the relationship between precarity and solidarity by examining concrete efforts by precariously-employed workers to challenge the process of precaritisation. In doing so, I pose alternative conceptual frameworks for identifying the political possibilities of solidarity and collective transformation in the age of global precarity.