Saturday, 3 December 2016

Marcel Paret on Precarious Class Formation in the the USA and South Africa

Marcel Paret (2016) Precarious Class Formations in the United States and SouthAfrica, International Labor and Working Class History 89(Spring): 84-106.

Abstract: Recent scholarship highlights the global expansion of precarious layers of the working class. This article examines the growth and collective struggles of such precarious layers in two very different places: California, United States and Gauteng, South Africa. The comparison challenges and extends existing research in two ways. First, it shows that the spread of insecurity is far from uniform, taking different forms in different places. Lack of citizenship is more crucial for workers in California, whereas underemployment is more crucial for workers in Gauteng. Second, it shows that insecure segments of the working class are capable of developing collective agency. This agency may be rooted in identities that extend beyond precarious employment, and will reflect the particular forms of insecurity that are prevalent in the given context. Such diversity is illustrated by examining May Day protests in California and community protests around service delivery in Gauteng.