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Friday 23 November 2018
Workshop for TASA members hosted jointly by TASA ‘Sociology of Economic Life’ and ‘Work,
Employment and Social Movements’ Thematic Groups

The past few decades of political and economic change have led to a shifting of risk from collective and
public institutions to private, individualised spaces. Examples include the shift from public provision of
pensions and healthcare to private retirement savings and health insurance; the decentralisation and
weakening of workplace rights and trade union protection towards contingent and individualised
employment relations; and the workfarist transformation of the welfare state and public income support
and an accompanying demonization and marginalisation of the unemployed. Over the same period,
household debt and asset structures changed both materially and conceptually as homes became
investments to financially secure the future and credit became a safety valve as the state withdrew funding
for social services.

It is in this context that the concepts of ‘precariousness’ and ‘precarity’ have become a popular locus for
public debate and for scholarly research. Building on the theme of the 2018 TASA Annual Conference
(Precarity, Rights, Resistance), the SoEL and WESM thematic groups propose a workshop to explore
responses to precariousness in the economic realm. We are interested in the economic manifestations of
precarity, such as that related to work, housing, credit/debt, and the withdrawal of collective (state-based)
provision for economic security. While there is a great deal of research regarding the negative impacts of
increasing insecurity and precarity, we observe a space for interventions regarding responses, policies,
programs, forms of resistance, conflict, contradiction and struggle arising from these new forms of

We encourage abstracts which focus on the following non-exhaustive list of possibilities:

  • Social movements or campaigns addressing aspects of economic insecurity
  • Regulation and public policy responses
  • Individualised or atomised reactions
  • Trade union or worker responses to precarious work and/or precarity more broadly
  • The contradictions and conflicts generated by responses to economic insecurity
  • Strategies or theorisation towards a post-capitalist economy through the lens of precarity,
    precariousness, etc
  • Localised collectivisation, such as community renewable energy projects or worker cooperatives

We welcome both empirically driven work, as well as theoretical interventions.

This one-day workshop offers a chance for scholars, especially Higher Degree Research students (HDRs)
and Early Career Researchers (ECRs), to present new research on this topic, including (but not limited to)
the discussion offered above.

We invite titles and abstracts of 100-150 words relating broadly to the above issues and a brief (i.e., 50
words or less) biographical note. If you are an ECR or HDR, please mention this in your bio. While we
will aim to give opportunities to ECRs, we also welcome abstracts from more senior scholars.

We welcome research from within sociology as well as cognizant disciplines such as political science,
political economy, geography, etc.

The workshop
The proposed workshop will take place for one day on Friday 23 November 2018, which is the day after
the TASA 2018 conference in Melbourne. The workshop will be comprised of about 6-8 papers, with
each author providing a short oral presentation followed by questions and discussion.

We are exploring the possibility of obtaining funding to support travel (flights and accommodation) for
ECRs or those in precarious work conditions. We are also looking into inviting a small number of senior
scholars to act as discussants during the workshop.

Publication opportunity
We plan to submit selected papers as a special section of a top-quality international journal in sociology
(where they would be subject to the normal refereeing process).

Application process
Please submit abstracts, following the specifications above, to BOTH AND no later than 1 June 2018. Authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to
submit full papers for peer review within 2-3 months of notified acceptance (around late October), to be
reviewed by workshop discussants and read by fellow presenters prior to the workshop. While non-TASA
members are welcome to submit abstracts, participants must be TASA members at the time of the
workshop. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.