Emergence of Precariat or Return of Proletariat? (Analysing “The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class” by G. Standing)

Biriukov A.A.

Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Amur State University of Humanities and Pedagogy, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia abir-nabir08@yandex.ru

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Biriukov A.A. Emergence of Precariat or Return of Proletariat? (Analysing “The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class” by G. Standing). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2015. No 10. P. 158-162


Analysed is background of precariat concept coined by British economist and sociologist G. Standing. Main idea advocated by Mr. Standig is the emergence of a new social class called precariat different from both middle class and traditional proletariat. Distinct features of the precariat are weak links with state, irregular income, loss of rights and social safeguards and absence of professional identity. The author discusses Mr. Standing’s ideas. Precariat obviously appears not differ from proletariat either in its relation to means of production or to its position and role in the system of social production. Drawbacks of Standing’s concept leads him into a methodological deadlock. It can be noticed in his description of proletariat as a class consisting of workers employed on a long-term regular basis and having fixed working day. Mr. Standing also shows proletariat as a class possessing some social privileges and opportunities such as promotion prospects, trade-union membership, collective bargaining and so on, an obvously shallow approach. Mr. Standing’s desire to draw a clear distinction between the proletariat and the precariat borders on unhistoricism and Eurocentrism. Moreover, so author of the review, emergence and expansion of the precarization phenomenon (coupled with the expansion of informal employment) proves emergence of important changes in the modem system of social relations connected to overall deterioration of proletarians’ position in the world.

Guy Standing; precariat; proletariat; social class; Marxism; capitalism; informal sector
Content No 10, 2015