Precarisation and self-precarisation

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Precarisation denotes the decisions and processes through which people become exposed to precarious working conditions. Self-precarisation denotes the decisions and processes through which workers decide to precarise themselves. For designers and other cultural producers, this includes taking precarising decisions in order to be able to stay within the creative industries.


“The common parameters of cultural producers, however, should be that they are well or even very well educated, between twenty-five and forty years-old, without children, and more or less intentionally in a precarious employment situation. They pursue temporary jobs, live from projects and pursue contract work from several clients at the same time, one right after the other, usually without sick pay, paid vacations, or unemployment compensation, and without any job security, thus with no or only minimal social protection. The forty-hour week is an illusion. Working time and free time have no clearly defined borders. Work and leisure can no longer be separated. In the non-paid time, they accumulate a great deal of knowledge, which is not paid for extra, but is naturally called for and used in the context of paid work, etc.”

Isabell Lorey, ‘Governmentality and Self-Precarization’, 4 May 2006, http://eipcp.net/transversal/1106/lorey/en (also in German, Spanish and Turkish)