Eloisa Betti

VF_Eloisa Betti_bib

Post-Doctoral Fellow of History, Culture and Civilization, University of Bologna

EURIAS Junior Visiting Fellow
(September 2015 – June 2016)

Project:

Gender and Precarious Work in a Historical Perspective: The European Context

The research project analyses precarious work as a historical and gendered phenomenon. Looking at the current spread of precarious work , the research looks at changes and continuities in precariousness, with particular attention being paid to the European context. The roots of the debate on job precariousness in European historiography will be traced and the debate on precarious work in the European social sciences historicized.

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Precarious Work: Norm or Exception of Capitalism? Historicizing a Contemporary Debate: A Global Gendered Perspective

Is precarious work the product of specific historical circumstances, such as Post-Fordism and neoliberalism, or is it the real norm of capitalism, while the so-called "standard employment model" is actually the historical exception? This paper compares and contrasts the different interpretations of the role of precarious work in the history of capitalism provided in the past two decades by socio-economic and legal scholars and, more recently, by historians, feminist and post-colonial scholars. Such a debate aims to prove the relativity of the concepts of norm and exception, defined as such according to specific and competitive theoretical frameworks discussed in the paper. Exploring the invention of a norm (i.e. the standard employment relationship) and its more recent subversion, the paper intends to show the shift occurring in knowledge systems as a result of the global and gender turn spreading since the edge of the New Millennium in social and historical sciences. Conceiving the role of precarious work in the history of capitalism as a norm has, therefore, challenged the hegemonic model of understanding the social world, revealing the multiple facets and variations of an enduring phenomenon, no longer recognizable as an exception.
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Introduction
The Power of the Norm: Fragile Rules and Significant Exceptions

Certain exceptions, it is said, prove the rule. This has sometimes been understood to mean that identifying a given instance of a phenomenon as exceptional implies the existence of a rule to which it does not conform. The exception may then direct our attention to special circumstances under which the rule does not apply. Alternatively, under an older meaning of the word ‘prove,’ the phrase suggests that exceptional cases test or call into question taken-for-granted rules or expectations. ...
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