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Frame 30.2 – Precarious Work, Precarious Life | December 2017

Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, the concept of precarity has emerged as a central point of reference in economic, philosophical, and sociological discourse, and has become a rallying cry for contemporary resistance movements. Precarity refers to the structural financial and existential insecurity brought about by the advent of neoliberalism, the dismantling of the welfare state and social security, and the increasing reliance on casual, short-term, and flexible labour. As a socio-economic concept, precarity adequately captures the increasing insecurity, flexibility, and decentralization characteristic of today’s economy.

In the socio-ontological sense, developed by Judith Butler in Precarious Life and Frames of War, precariousness refers to a shared bodily vulnerability and interdependency, and the demand to be protected from the potential exposure to (state) violence. As such, precariousness gives rise to a non-violent ethics of cooperation and solidarity, and is fundamentally connected to questions of vulnerability, injurability, interdependency, mourning and grief, and the question what does or does not count as a life.

In this new issue of Frame, scholars explore the notion of precarity in its many dimensions: How do precarity and precariousness affect identity formation, and what consequences does this increasingly fractured state of living have for the role of art? In what ways does contemporary art tackle the normalization of insecurity and risk in the world of today? How could media such as literature or photography raise awareness of and disclose previously unheard, unseen, or unwritten stories of mourning, grief, and vulnerability?

Articles

Isabell Lorey | Precarisation, Indebtedness, Giving Time

Niels Springveld | Neoliberalism, Precarity, and Precariousness
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Pascal Gielen and Lara Garcia Diaz | Precarity as an Artistic Laboratory for Counter-Hegemonic Labour Organization
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Sieglinde Lemke | Precarious Art and the Aesthetics of the Precarious Gaze
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Monica Jansen | Precarity on Stage: the Creative and Political Dimensions of Affect in Ceresoli’s Theatre Production La Merda
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Jago Morrison | Terrorism, Precarity, Security: 9/11 Revisited
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Gabriel Giorgi | The Form of the Improper: Clarice Lispector and Precarity
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