On the Edge: Genealogies and Futures of Precarity

External activity | Jovanka Popova's presentation at the conference “On the Edge: Genealogies and Futures of Precarity” | CEU University Budapest | 3 – 4 June, 2016.

The emergence of ‘precarity’ as a ‘worldwide symptom of neoliberalism’ signals both a socio-economic condition and an ontological experience under the global regime of late capitalism. In the current political moment, precarity has come to designate a shift away from job security, an erosion of social belonging, and a loss of well-being for a neoliberalized citizenry, whose daily lives are increasingly marked by economic instability, uncertain futures, risky livelihoods, and a perceived dependence on the political will of elite actors. Such precarious shifts, furthermore, are deeply embedded in an intersectional hierarchization that signifies some bodies as more precarious and less grievable, with relating differentiations in social positions of insecurity.

The conference unravel the analytical and political potentialities of the term ‘precarity', exploring how uncertainty and insecurity are increasingly being structurally built into contemporary modes of being, working, and governing of people. Both reflecting on the state of socio-economic precarity in the world today as well as extending that conceptual framework to explore precarity as a mode of being that pervades affective lifeworlds, the conference aspires to open up new perspectives for recognizing the problems we now face and galvanizing social movements to face them more effectively. We are looking for bold new explorations of the use of ‘precarity’ as a disruptive conceptual framework, crossing and clarifying bounded political, economic, and social categories.