The conditions for after Work: Financialization and informalization in posttransition South Africa
IN A TIME OF FINANCIAL CRISIS, THE AMOUNT OF TALK ABOUT THE Nature and challenges of employment-what Kathi Weeks aptly describes as "the problem with work" in her eponymous book (2011)-should hardly be surprising. While work is in short supply in some parts of the world, in others employment has intensified and necessarily become increasingly exploitative; in still other places work, in the sense of formal wage employment, has rarely if ever been a given. Addressing these structural transformations in the global labor market, theorists have tried to develop a new vocabulary to describe the precariousness of work: the emergence of a class of workers made up of those destined to remain poor because of underemployment or depressed wages and those subject to intermittent and even permanent unemployment. This new "contingent class," though perhaps analogous to Karl Marx's lumpen proletariat (Eighteenth Brumaire), has arisen from different conditions.
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