This book attempts to explore the effects of neoliberalism on particular forms of community. Guy Standing (2011) has popularised the notion of precariousness to describe the unpredictable neoliberal conditions faced by radically different people throughout the world. Members of Standing’s ‘precariat’ lack occupational identities, treat work and other moneymaking activities instrumentally, are focused on the short-term and have no ‘shadow of the future’ hanging over their actions, leaving little incentive to sustain long-term relationships and productive, but unpaid, social activities. This issue presents an interdisciplinary account of the challenges faced by communities at a time in which neoliberalism seems unchecked and uncheckable by the rise of nationalist populism. At points, responses are presented, but it is perhaps reflective of the general sense of helplessness of those committed to tackling neoliberalism that the final article highlights serious deficits in an approach commonly presented as a practicable response: basic income. In the spirit of participation, each article is accompanied by a reply by a non-academic as well as an academic. This ought not to be seen as tokenism – the experience of the project has been that discussions can be advanced much more effectively through engagement with community members and professionals.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Global Discourse.
Table of Contents
Introduction: precariousness, community and participation
1. The role of coal-mining towns in social theory: past, present and future
2. The isolated mass and contemporary social theory
3. Changing precarities in the Irish housing system: supplier-generated changes in security of tenure for domiciled households
Joe Finnerty and Cathal O’Connell
4. Understanding housing precarity: more than access to a shelter, housing is essential for a decent life
5. Precarious living in liminal spaces: neglect of the Gypsy–Traveller site
6. Gypsy-Traveller sites in the UK: power, history, informality – a response to Richardson
7. Traveller precarity, public apathy, public service inaction, a reply to Jo Richardson’s article from a community work perspective
Denis Barrett and Siobhan O’Dowd
8. Universities as key responders to education inequality
Siobhán O’Sullivan, Séamus O’Tuama and Lorna Kenny
9. An ongoing challenge and a chance to diversify university outreach to tackle inequality: a response to O’Sullivan, O’Tuama and Kenny
10. A reply to O’Sullivan, O’Tuama and Kenny
11. Affective collaboration in the Westfjords of Iceland
Valdimar J. Halldórsson
12. Protean possibilities: attending to affect in collaborative research – a reply to Valdimar Halldórsson
13. Cooperation in adversity: an evolutionary approach
14. Cooperation in adversity: a political theorist’s response
Matthew Johnson is Lecturer in Politics at Lancaster University, UK. His research examines issues such as Englishness and the relationship between culture, policy and wellbeing. He led a participatory project entitled ‘A Cross-Cultural Working Group on "Good Culture" and Precariousness’, which involved exchanges between people from Ashington and Aboriginal Australian communities.