uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
A Democratic Critique of Precarity
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
Lunds universitet.
2015 (English)In: Global Discourse: A Developmental Journal of Research in Politics and International Relations, ISSN 2326-9995, E-ISSN 2043-7897, Vol. 5, no 4, 556-573 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The term 'precarity' has become increasingly popular as a way to capture the material and psychological vulnerability resulting from neoliberal economic reforms. This article demonstrates that such precarity is incompatible with democracy. More specifically, it makes two arguments. First, and inspired by Montesquieu's analysis of the 'principles', or public commitments behind different forms of government, it argues that modern democracy is a sui generis form of government animated and sustained by a principle of shared responsibility. Second, it shows that this principle is negated by the neoliberal form of governing. The neoliberal policies currently operating in many democratic countries not only push ever more people into precarious conditions where they have to compete against each other for security and status; by displacing onto individuals a responsibility that ought to be shared and divided between citizens, they corrupt the core of democracy itself. The article thus suggests that precarity is problematic not only from the standpoint of social justice, as emphasized in earlier research, but also from the perspective of democracy. Precarity contradicts the ways of life that must be regenerated in order for a democratic form of government to sustain itself over time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 5, no 4, 556-573 p.
Keyword [en]
precarity, precariat, democracy, responsibility, Arendt, Montesquieu, neoliberalism
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-240308DOI: 10.1080/23269995.2014.992119OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-240308DiVA: diva2:776177
Available from: 2015-01-07 Created: 2015-01-07 Last updated: 2016-07-26Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(227 kB)145 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 227 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Näsström, Sofia
By organisation
Department of Government
In the same journal
Global Discourse: A Developmental Journal of Research in Politics and International Relations
Social Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 145 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 1375 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link