December 30, 2022
9.02 Inches (US)
6.10 Inches (US)
1.17 Pounds (US)
$85.00 USD, £61.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Precarious Workers

History of Debates, Political Mobilization, and Labor Reforms in Italy

The recent vast upsurge in social science scholarship on job precarity has generally little to say about earlier forms of this phenomenon. Eloisa Betti's monograph convincingly demonstrates on the example of Italy that even in the post-war phase of Keynesian stability and welfare state, precarious labor was an underlying feature of economic development. She examines how in this short period exceptional politics of labor stability prevailed. The volume then presents the processes whereby labor precarity regained momentum— under the name of flexibility— in the post-Fordist phase from the early 1980s, taking on new forms in the Craxi and Berlusconi eras.

Multiple actors are addressed in the analysis. The book gives voice to intellectuals, scholars, politicians and trade unionists as they have framed the concept and debates on precarious work from the 1950s onwards. Views of labor law experts, politicians and public servants are investigated in regard to labor regulations. Positions of the very precarians are explored, ranging from rural women, industrial homeworkers and blue-collar workers to physicians, university researchers and trainees, unveiling the emergence of anti-precarity social movements. The continuous role of women's associations and feminist groups in opposing labor precarity since the 1950s is prominently exposed.

About the Author

Dr. Eloisa Betti is Adjunct Professor of Labor History at the University of Bologna.


"Precarious Workers is a very timely study of an increasingly important subject. There is little enough English-language material on Italian labor, and even less that addresses the issue of labor precarity from a feminist-gender perspective. With its focus on Italy, but with an awareness of developments outside of it, this story contributes a historical understanding to the existing international literature on the phenomenon of precarity. In so doing, the book fills a gap in our understanding of the global problem of precarious work, while bringing a fresh perspective to the subject. We need more studies like this."—Diane Kirkby

"This is a highly original book. In terms of ambition, the scope of the research, and the rich conceptualization, this book is among the most significant works on precarious labour not only in Italy but internationally. It is perhaps in its combination of social and intellectual history that the originality of this book comes through most clearly. Betti achieves a fine balance between highlighting Italian peculiarities and offering a wider, internationally relevant framework. As this Italian case study illuminates wider contradictions, it will be of great interest to not only scholars of modern Italy, but to labor, social, and gender historians of the industrialized world more broadly."—Maud Anne Bracke

9789633864371 : precarious-workers-betti
268 Pages
$85.00 USD

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