Precarious Work, Insecure Workers: Employment Relations in Transition

  title={Precarious Work, Insecure Workers: Employment Relations in Transition},
  author={Arne L. Kalleberg},
  journal={American Sociological Review},
  pages={1 - 22}
  • A. Kalleberg
  • Published 1 February 2009
  • Sociology
  • American Sociological Review
The growth of precarious work since the 1970s has emerged as a core contemporary concern within politics, in the media, and among researchers. Uncertain and unpredictable work contrasts with the relative security that characterized the three decades following World War II. Precarious work constitutes a global challenge that has a wide range of consequences cutting across many areas of concern to sociologists. Hence, it is increasingly important to understand the new workplace arrangements that… 

Figures from this paper

Precarious work: Economic, sociological and political perspectives
This article brings together labour relations, sociological and political perspectives on precarious employment in Australia, identifying local contexts of insecurity and setting them within the
Unruly Entrepreneurs: Russian Worker Responses to Insecure Formal Employment
The article adds to research on in-work poverty, ‘precarious’ work and informal economic activity. It provides ethnographic data on mobility between formal and informal work in Russia; industrial
Precarious Work and the Challenge for Asia
This article discusses the social, economic, and political factors that led to the rise and consolidation of precarious work in various countries in Asia. We first define what we mean by “precarious
Human Dignity and Power: Worker Struggles against Precarity in U.S. Agribusiness
While precarious employment expands, instances of workers improving employment standards motivate examination of the dynamics of advancing decent work. This article analyzes cases of workers shifting
Relationship between precarious work and racism for migrants in Brazil
Abstract Amid the growing global flow of goods, workers migrating in search of work face a major challenge of integration in destination countries. Issues of racism and discrimination emerge in the
Precarious, Informalizing, and Flexible Work
There is a considerable body of academic and activist research that studies the prevalence of precariousness in contemporary societies. It goes by many names that are often interchangeable, including
Precarious work and care responsibilities in the economic crisis
Economic transformation after 1989 and the global economic recession that began in 2008 have caused an increase in precarious work in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. As a result of
An examination of employment precarity and insecurity in the UK
Employment precarity and insecurity are major topics of discussion within the sociology of work and in society at large. This thesis demonstrates the limits to the growth of precarity in the UK
Understanding the globalizing precariat: From informal sector to precarious work
Given ongoing changes in the world of work that affect both developing and industrialized countries, we argue that it is time to bring the notions of informal and precarious work together.
Without a Safety Net: Precarization Among Young Danish Employees
Precarisation’ is one of the concepts that has become important in efforts to explain how neoliberal politics and changed economic conditions produce new forms of marginalization and increased


The Nature of Work: Sociological Perspectives
The nature of work in America is changing in important ways. Blue-collar jobs are being eliminated because of increased competition from countries where wages are lower, while a greater economic role
Empowerment Redux: Structure, Agency, and the Remaking of Managerial Authority1
Research on the new managerial regimes has been hampered by its neglect of the question of human agency—specifically, the nature of workers’ responses to the advent of the new forms of work
Workers, worries and welfare states: Social protection and job insecurity in 15 OECD countries
This article examines a model of the domestic political economy of subjective employment insecurity in advanced industrial societies. Based on data on people's attitudes toward their job as well as
Laboring under Uncertainty: Identity Renegotiation among Contingent Workers
Relying on interviews with contingent workers in diverse jobs, this article explores the motivations underlying worker consent, in particular, workers' commitment to employers who did little to
The contest over employer status in the postwar United States : The case of temporary help firms
This study examines the sociolegal underpinnings of the temporary help relationship as one kind of contingent work arrangement and explores how it became institutionalized in the post-World War II
Rethinking Post-Fordism: The Meaning of Workplace Flexibility
Social scientists increasingly claim that work structures based on the mass production or “Fordist” paradigm have grown obsolete, giving way to a more flexible, “post-Fordist” structure of work.
The Sociology of Work and Occupations
I review recent studies of work and occupations. Most of this work proceeds at the individual level, studying individual characteristics of workers, qualities of the work experience, and, to a lesser
The Sociology of Work: Where Have the Workers Gone?
Over the past 50 years, the field of industrial sociology (work and occupations) has shifted its focus from work and workers to economic concerns, and has transformed our conception of the worker
Nonstandard Employment Relations: Part-time, Temporary and Contract Work
Nonstandard employment relations—such as part-time work, temporary help agency and contract company employment, short-term and contingent work, and independent contracting—have become increasingly