Conference Agenda

RS11_10: Who is at risk of precariousness and where?
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Annalisa Murgia, University of Milan
Session Chair: Renato Miguel Carmo, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL)
Location: UP.4.206
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road


Precarious Situations of Farming Occupation

Majda Cernic Istenic

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

In the public there are intensive discussions held on the importance of safe, quality produced food to the preservation of health and well-being of the populations as well as the crucial importance of agriculture in food provisioning by sustainable use of natural resources. However, in these discussions the working conditions of those who are working in agriculture and contribute to the food provisioning of the populations are mostly absent while the statistics on farm injuries and accidents from all over the world demonstrate that farming is one among the most hazardous and risky occupations. Moreover, the farming population in the developed countries is hardly ever described as precarious, unless referring to migrant workers. There are, however, multiple groups of people in agriculture whose vulnerable situations could be examined in the frame of precarization. Bearing in mind yet weak public and research interest in this issue, the proposed paper is dealing with the question on how do farm family members experience and resolve their own disability or the disability of their family members due to occupational injuries/illnesses, specifically what social/labour support (institutional, formal and informal) is available to them when labour loss on a farm occurs. The consideration on these issues relies on the results of the interviews conducted with the members of 60 farm families of both genders and across generations in autumn 2018 in Slovenia, the country with specific agricultural context dominated by small family farms, socialist legacies and radical changes in agriculture over the last twenty-five years.

Understanding Precariousness in the Journalistic Sphere

Pedro Pais1,2, Miguel Paisana1,2, Miguel Crespo1,2, Caterina Foa1,2, Ana Pinto-Martinho1,2

1ISCTE-IUL Lisbon University Institute, Portugal; 2CIES-IUL Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia

This communication regards the ambiguity related to the definition of labour precariousness at two different levels: a) the complexity of its theoretical definition and b) the existence and impact of different kinds of precariousness in the journalistic sphere.

Quantitative data collected by CIES and OberCom over the course of two years, shows that theoretical difficulties behind the definition of precariousness are mirrored by the reality of the news sector where precarious labour relations are still the reality for many professionals. Collected data also suggests that there are many forms of precariousness: while the vast majority of surveyed journalists are currently working, the overall situation of the sector is very diverse in terms of contractual. Other factors, such as unpaid extra hours and working for several employers are also influential in building a wider conceptual chart about what precariousness in journalism is about.

Analysed data supports the idea of the current state of labour precariousness in journalism being an echo of a much wider discussion going on in contemporary economic systems: the wide range of concepts, not all emanating from the academy but also from the private and public / political sphere is a symptom not only of uncertain personal and professional prospects but also of our underlying inability to mitigate labour precariousness through effective and reflected governance. We believe that this uncertainty is particularly nefarious in the journalistic sphere, given the close and historial dependance of democratic societies on a strong, stable and prosperous news sector.

Working Carers In The UK : An Experience Of Precariousness.

Camille Victoire Allard

University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

This presentation focuses on the pertinence of using the category of ‘precariousness’ to understand the struggles faced by working carers in the UK. In the context of an ageing society, with consistent cuts in adult social services (Fernandez, 2013), more people are providing informal support to an elder, disabled or sick relative, while at the same time undertaking paid work. Therefore, they often face acute financial, physical or mental health problems. These challenges, and the lack of support and recognition at their workplace sometimes push them to drop out of work, become trapped in jobs of poor quality or encounter difficulties with engaging in long-term projects. As both vulnerable conditions of work and care interrelate through working carers’ experiences, the concept of ‘precariousness’ as an ‘existential state of unpredictability of living without security’ (Hundle, 2012: 288) thus is relevant to capture the relationship between unsupportive work in an uncertain labour market and unpredictable life (Millar, 2017). This presentation will analyse the various structural and cultural factors which can contribute to better understanding and identifying the experience of working carers as indeed being one of ‘precariousness’. It will draw from empirical findings from interviews conducted with working carers about the potential workplace support, or lack thereof, that they can expect to receive from their organisations, as well as their abilities to organise themselves and to express their voice. It will also draw on theoretical considerations of precariousness ( Butler, 2004, 2009; Millar, 2017). Therefore, this presentation will contribute to expanding our understanding of precariousness, by illustrating it through the experience of working carers.