“…what is at stake is a way of rethinking social relationality.


- Judith Butler, in Puar et al, 2012.

United We Transform,
Divided We Reproduce
Towards an understanding of the
political and transformative potential
of precarity
By Kristen Hackett
Second Doctoral Examination | Mon June 19th 2pm
Environmental Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center

Advisor: Susan Saegert
Committee Members: Michelle Fine, Tarry Hum
PRELUDE
Young People, Precarity
& Political Participation
• Rising cost of college, Underemployment
• Fear, anxiety
• Self-packaging as precarity-reducing
(selecting specific majors; pursuing
professional degrees
• Promise of political participation
obstructed by perceived precarity and
lack of faith in formal political system
PRELUDE
PRELUDE
PRELUDE
PRELUDE
“…what is at stake is a way of rethinking social relationality.”
- Judith Butler, in Puar et al, 2012.

United We Transform,
Divided We Reproduce
Towards an understanding of the
political and transformative potential
of precarity

Precarity Commoning
Precarity
a way to capture the material
and psychological
‘PRECARIOUS WORK’
“employment that is uncertain,
vulnerability arising from
neoliberal economic reforms” unpredictable and risky from the point of
(Nasstrom and Kalm, 2015, view of the worker” (Kalleberg, 2009, p2)
p556).
LOW WAGE
WORK &
DUAL ECONOMY
- Technology advances,
hypermobility of capital
and rise of low wage work
sector undergird
hollowing of labor market.

(Autor, 2010)
WAGE STAGNATION
& DECLINE
(despite increasing in productivity)
Welfare State Neoliberal State

‘roll back, roll out’ (Peck and Tickell, 2012)
CAPITALOCENTRIC
(Gibson-Graham, 1996)

• unpaid, informalized, feminized
and relational work of social
reproduction:
• by some estimates comprises 30-50% of
all economic activity in rich and poor
countries (e.g. Irongmonger, 1996)

• an important foundation for the
operating of capitalist systems of
production (e.g. Fraser, 2016)

(The Community Collective, 2001)
GOVERNMENTALITY
-dependent on
the atomized,
autonomous, self-
seeking individual
Ex. Higher education & Young Adults

 Federal and Private
Student loans
 Fellowships
 Grants & Aid
 Work Study
GOVERNMENTALITY

Rate of 2 year, 4 year &
professional degree
pursuers/earners
Meanwhile, in the recesses of the formal economy…
Counter hegemonic

Vs

Countering Hegemony
Counter hegemonic

a social relationality
Vs based
on care, reciprocity and
community

Countering Hegemony
(EM)PLACING PRECARITY

how place-based
practices of
the place-based ways
in which capitalism
commoning work
aims to secure to subvert or
and reproduce the upend hegemonic
modes of social
relations of
relationality and
domination upon
undermine the
which the political
dominance of the
project depends
liberal capitalist
project.

a place-based perspective on the political and transformative possibilities of precarity
HOME as: Networked
Communities of
‘Sustenance’ Making, maintaining
and pursuing life
Center of Dwelling

Autonomy Privacy

A Stable base Refuge
HOME as:
Affordable Unaffordable
• Autonomy, Privacy, Refuge • Stress, Anxiety
• A Stable base; center of dwelling • Loss of ontological security
• Networked communities of sustenance • Exacerbation of health issues
• Making, maintaining and pursuing life
GEOGRAPHIES OF HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
HOME as:
Affordable Unaffordable
• Autonomy, Privacy, Refuge • Stress, Anxiety
• A Stable base; center of dwelling • Loss of ontological security
• Networked communities of sustenance • Exacerbation of health issues
• Making, maintaining and pursuing life
DISPLACEMENT
-Stress, Health
-Job Insecurity
-Housing Quality
(Desmond, 2016)

-Community
Cohesion and
Stability
Urban place-
making
threat of

DISPLACEMENT
Hyper-
commodification
of housing

Spatialization of
(housing)
precarity, 20th C
Urban place- ‘REVITALIZATION’
making
• Post-fiscal crisis >> neoliberal turn
• Business approach
• ‘Entrepreneurial’ and growth as
Hyper- central ’securitizing’ values
commodification
of housing
Roll back / Roll out at municipal level
Reliance on External Capital
Spatialization of
(housing) Hypermobility of capital
precarity, 20th C
Heightened Intra-City Competition
“between 1981 and 2011, the
GLOBALLY-ACCESSIBLE regulated share of the market fell

LIQUIDITY from 62% to 47% of all units”
(Madden and Marcuse, 2016)
Urban place-
making

Financialization Globalization
Hyper-
commodification
of housing

(De)(Re)Regulation

Spatialization of
(housing)
precarity, 20th C

Use Value
Neighborhoods
Targeted for
Rezoning
Urban place-
making

Capital Flow
from Center
to Periphery
Hyper-
commodification
of housing

Spatialization of
(housing)
precarity, 20th C
‘ROOT SHOCK’

“…the obliteration of a neighborhood destroys the matrix that holds
people together on particular paths and in specific relationships”
(Fullilove, 2005, p. 218).
PLACE-BASED COMMONING

• Role of place attachment
• Experimentation and extension of
commoning practices
• Formalization through institutionalization
• Expansion of self through remaking of social
and material environment
• Role of historical exclusion and future
development
• Role of the state
How place-based How longstanding
commoning networks fit experiences with precarity
into larger city-wide, The relationship between and commoning are
national and even global precarity & commoning transmitted to and grow
networks that feed and are through the incorporation
fed back the local of younger members
commoning networks

The role of
Tensions
Tensions between land and place
between
& disruption The role of the state
consciousness and individual and
of place in
embodiment of collective in mediating control
mediating the
alternative modes of strategies of over land.
transformative
coping with
social relationality potential of
precarity
through land use. commoning

How do the network of
Forming a The relationship between
commoning practices that
community gardens in
East New York for
are counter-hegemonic and
Research Project countering hegemony example, function at the
intersection of this
relationship.
Comments, questions, feedback, collaboratio

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