Friday, 13 May 2011

The presence of precarity

The presence of precarity
Self-employment as contemporary form

Gesa Helms

Aligning artistic and academic labour in their shared belief in creative and autonomous practices and work identity formation - the valorisation of one’s self in such relational labour practices - this study, drawing on Maurizio Lazaratto and Sergio Bologna, takes us some way towards unravelling some of the myths around creativity and autonomy in immaterial labour (be it as artists or academics). In doing so it calls into question assumed understandings of class divisions between a culture of (UK) middle classes and working classes:

"These, unfortunately, too often remain anything but new in the studies of working class lives and firmly rely on the examination of cultural preference if not socio-economic class indices. Instead, going back to a Marxist understanding of class in relation to the means of production and ownership of these allows us to consider that drinking latte, flat whites, or similar, may not determine one’s class belonging. Consequently, a dismissal of self-employment, or rather freelancing, as the territories of the middle-classes (i.e. not working classes) does not take us very far if we fail to consider how such ‘autonomy’ of self-employment is indeed firmly woven into a process of subsumed labour."

text    pdf

But then, make sure to take a look at the other articles in this fabulous edition of Variant

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