Capitalist Peripheries: Perspectives on Precarisation from the Global South and North
Volume XXX • Issue 4 • 2014
Capitalist Peripheries: Perspectives on Precarisation from the Global South and North

Precarity and precarisation have become a central political topic and a highly controversial issue in academic debate. Financialisation, flexibilisation and transnationalisation have led to adjustments in welfare state regulations and growing precarisation of labour markets – not only in the Global North. Taking account of traditionally highly segmented and precarious labour markets in the Global South, this special issue contributes to evaluating the shape and scope of precarisation processes and the related reconfiguration of social inequalities in different regions of the world. Going beyond simplified binary juxtapositions and based on examples from Germany, Brazil and Asia, the articles compiled here trace contradictory processes of precarisation and formalisation of labour and varieties of  precarity and precarisation. They contribute to a broader understanding of social  precarisation as a relational process embedded in the current transformation of capitalist accumulation on a global scale.


Schwerpunktredaktion: Martina Sproll, Ingrid Wehr

Print ISSN: 2414-3197│Online ISSN: 0258-2384


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Inhalt dieser Ausgabe
Sproll, Martina; Wehr, Ingrid

Capitalist Peripheries: Perspectives on Precarisation from the Global South and North (Introduction)

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 4-13
  • Abstract



Leite, Marcia de Paula; Salas, Carlos

Work, Development and Inequalities in Brazil

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 14-45
  • Abstract

This article examines the labour situation in Brazil. Based on official occupation statistics, the impacts on labour of the economic policies applied in the country during the last decade are analysed. The article begins with the theoretical assumption that although the current globalisation process has universal implications for labour, it is important to analyse national realities by examining their internal dynamics. From here it is possible to show major improvements in job creation and in income distribution in Brazil, which have a great effect on the occupational integration of women and the black population. But although much has been achieved, great inequalities of gender and race still persist in the Brazilian labour market and this poses important challenges for Brazil’s future development.

Druck, Graça

The Social Precarisation of Labour in Brazil

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 46-68
  • Abstract

This paper presents a conceptual discussion and an analysis of labour in the context of globalisation of capital, marked by the hegemony of financial capital, and the restructuring of production and labour, which indicate a new historic moment of capitalism. In this context, the precarisation of labour suffers a metamorphoses and occupies a central place in the new dynamics of capitalism development in all the world. The conception of precarisation refers not only to the changes in the labour market (different types of employment and unemployment), but also to all fields of labour in relation to the form of organisation of labour, work and  health conditions, worker resistance and trade unions as well as the role of the State, through different types of regulation, particularly that of labour and social legislation. This paper comprises five sections: an introduction; a discussion of precarisation in the current flexible regime of accumulation; a summary of the main specificities of social precarisation of labour in Brazil, a presentation of the core dimensions of precarisation, based on an analysis of Brazilian empirical reality in the last decade, and finally a few conclusions.

Dörre, Klaus

Precarity and Social Disintegration: A Relational Concept

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 69-89
  • Abstract

This contribution conceptualises precarity as a relational category that must refer to definitions of social normality standards in order to be meaningful. Within the post-welfare states of the Global North, a new form of discriminatory precarity has taken hold. As a regime of disciplination and domination, this new form permeates all segments of societies based on wage labour. Building on Castels zone model and empirical research, we develop an extended typology of wage labours (dis-) integration potentials. This typology combines structural criteria with subjective ways of processing insecurity. Finally, we recapitulate the current precarity discourse in Central Europe and discuss potential research that could bring approaches in the Global North and South closer together.

Singe, Ingo

Informality in German Parcel Delivery

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 90-110
  • Abstract

This empirically based contribution analyses informal work and employment in German parcel services. In expanding segments of the industry, the formal regulation of work is supplemented by informal practice. While processes of informalisation are driven by the interests and strategies of capital, informal arrangements do find some resonance amongst workers. In asymmetrical power relations with capital, workers as actors are actively involved in the reproduction of informality. Social hierarchies amongst the fragmented group of workers are also marked by patterns of racialised classification.

Sproll, Martina

Precarisation and New Class Formations: The Case of CallCentres in the Brazilian Banking Sector

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 111-132
  • Abstract

Despite the growing formalisation of employment in the last decade, the Brazilian labour market exhibits new forms of precarisation and social inequalities. Based on the empirical case of call centres in the Brazilian banking and telemarketing sector, this article shows how transnational dynamics of restructuring, above all the increasing trend of outsourcing on the one hand and a national development model based on consumerism on the other hand, produce new forms of social segmentation and identities both within banks and in the social space. Precarisation and formalisation evolve simultaneously in a complex and socially intertwined process. In order to visualise new strands of inequalities related to class, race, gender and sexual orientation, a broader concept of social precarisation is needed.

Rosewarne, Stuart

Migrant Domestic Work: From Precarious to Precarisation

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 133-154
  • Abstract

Migrant domestic work is the archetypal manifestation of precarious employment. In most countries into which women from Asia are recruited, the absence of regulations prescribing minimum employment conditions or protections makes for exploitative and abusive work practices, and limited-duration work visas underscore this embedding of insecurity and uncertainty. We look beyond regulating employment conditions as a remedy for precariousness to highlight how gender and racial norms frame the formation of the global care chain, which in turn rests on the making of a new class of worker. The actors involved in this process of proletarianisation the state, labour agents, recruitment and training enterprises, insurers, bureaucrats, employment placement agencies and money remitters lay claim to workers earnings and contribute to the more transformative process of precarisation.

Guimaráes, Nadya Araujo; Demazière, Didier; Hirata, Helena; Sugita, Kurumi

Facing Labour Market Insecurity: Structural Constraints and Individual Interpretations - São Paulo, Paris and Tokyo

Sprache: ENGLISHSeiten: 155-178
  • Abstract

Labour market insecurity becomes a problem for an increasing number of workers in large metropolitan markets especially when unemployment expands during economic crises. Instead of scrutinising types and levels of insecurity, the paper will concentrate on identifying the ways in which recurrent unemployment periods have been experienced by workers, paying special attention to differences underlying perceptions and interpretations of insecurity. Empirical evidence comes from a comparative research project conducted in São Paulo, Paris and Tokyo between 2000 and 2010 using a comparative approach. Although different in terms of their welfare regimes, in the period analysed the three metropolises experienced rising unemployment and significant changes in their employment systems. A quanti-quali combination of research strategies allowed the analysis of labour market trajectories by means of three representative surveys and enabled researchers to go deeper into subjective experiences and interpretations using biographical interviews. The article aims to highlight the relevance of subjective and relational dimensions in the understanding of the growing insecurity in labour markets recent dynamics.

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