BA Thesis project Docent: Dr. Dennis Arnold Precarious labour

BA Thesis project
Docent: Dr. Dennis Arnold
Precarious labour, social protections and the geographies of social justice
Note: This is an English-language BA project (all discussions and writing to be done in English)
In advanced industrialised countries, numerous labour trends are associated with neoliberal
globalization, including: a decline in attachment to employers; an increase in long-term
unemployment; growth in job insecurity; increasing non standard and contingent forms of
employment; risk shifting from employers to employees; and a lack of workplace safety and
work based stress and harassment. In many developing countries, a growing array of
unremunerated activities are becoming essential to retain jobs, and even to ensure basic survival.
Furthermore, the emergence and the expansion of global supply chains poses numerous
challenges for those interested in sustaining and expanding regulatory structures that guarantee
decent work and protect workers and the environment against exploitative practices in global
markets. One explanation for these trends is the growing power and reach of global capital has
exceeded the ability of nations and labour & social movements to regulate it, exacerbating
inequality and precariousness.
Consequences of these trends include greater social and economic inequality, insecurity, and
instability. These trends may also dislocate people physically, psychologically and morally. That
said, there is no singular experience with precariousness. Rather, there is a differential
vulnerability based on education, age, family responsibility, occupation, industry, and welfare
and labour market protections. Furthermore, vulnerability is context specific and segmented by
gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship status and religion. As a result, late capitalism is associated
with class fragmentation, and there, as yet, is no unified response to these challenges from the
working class, the poor and the marginalized. There is therefore a need to find ways for existing
and new social and labour protection institutions to better address and meet the diverse needs of
communities and groups of people in precarious situations. There is also a need to understand
social and labour movement initiatives that address the weakening of existing social and labour
protections, while calling for new forms of regulation.
This thesis project is open to students interested in exploring these and related issues in their
thesis project. These projects may include case studies, literature reviews or other areas of
interest, with attention to the spatial dimensions of social, cultural, environmental and politicaleconomic transitions and transformations.