Resolving Precariousness: Advancing the Theory and Measurement of Precariousness across the paid/unpaid work continuum
The traditional dichotomy of paid (productive or waged) versus unpaid (reproductive or unwaged) work marginalizes unpaid work when conceptualizing precariousness, i.e. the exposure to unpredictability towards an individual’s future. It also neglects several types of unpaid work such as care work, work as a precondition for welfare payments, and newly emerging on- and offline work in the gig economy for which people in paid work are not compensated or where it is used to access paid work. A novel scientific perspective is needed, which breaks the paid/unpaid distinction, and rethinks precariousness on the paid/unpaid work continuum by uncovering the unpaid activities that increasingly underlie paid employment as a source of ‘value’ creation in the labour market. ResPecTMe will generate a new theoretical model of, and a measurement approach and monitoring tools for, precariousness at the paid and unpaid work continuum.
Using my unique experience of studying workers’ subjectivity within their societal contexts, I will achieve this by i) using a sequential mix of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to study precariousness at the paid/unpaid work continuum, and its social effects, in three core areas of work (i.e. care, crowd/gig- and creative), across and within eight European countries; ii) developing a comprehensive theory of precariousness at this continuum; iii) generating a valid, standardized and multi-indicator measurement (i.e. survey module) of precariousness at this continuum; iv) implementing monitoring tools for precariousness at the European level (i.e. rotating module for ESS and EPM). The theoretical knowledge, the measurement and the monitoring tools will address ongoing scientific and social challenges on how to study precariousness by innovating current conceptualisation of work in the scientific and policy community dealing with precarious work.