Precarity of place: a complement to the growing precariat literature

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Susan Banki Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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This article suggests that our current understandings of precarity are insufficient to describe the specific challenges of noncitizen living. It offers a counter concept that is related, but distinct from precarity: ‘precarity of place’. The term, far from being focused on the way precarity manifests itself in the workplace, instead focuses on the challenges of physical residence for migrants and the tightrope-like nature of migrant life. The article draws several parallels between the growing literature on what I call ‘labour precarity’ and ‘precarity of place’, including its origins in colonialism and neoliberalism, its nebulous class quality, and social movement responses. Drawing on examples from Burmese migrant populations in Thailand, the article posits that ‘precarity of place’ be considered in conjunction with, but separated from, our current understandings of (labour) precarity.

Susan Banki Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Global Discourse
An interdisciplinary journal of current affairs