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Minerva Medicolegale 2014 September;134(3):149-54

language: English

The precariat: an evolving class

Standing G.

Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, London, UK


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The painful construction of a global market system over the past three decades has given rise to a global class structure in which new groups have emerged, including a precariat consisting of millions of people subject to flexible, insecure labour relations. The precariat is a class-in-the-making, composed of three sometimes mutually hostile factions that can be labelled Atavists, Nostalgics and Progressives. It is not yet a class-for-itself with a clear vision of what type of society it wishes to see emerge. However, all three factions share the insecurities and fragilities that distinguish the precariat, producing the four As – anxiety, anomie, alienation and anger. The precariat’s situation is characterised by stress, a “precariatised mind” and a scarcity of resources that has been shown to undermine personal resilience and intelligence. Rather than treating the symptoms of insecurity, a new progressive politics is required that responds to the needs and aspirations of the precariat.

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