Events; News & Events

HAMILTON, NZ: BIEN co-founder Guy Standing to address economic precariousness among Māori

On August 30, BIEN cofounder Guy Standing will speak at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, as part of an event on economic precarity facing the Māori.

In influential books like The Precariat and A Precariat Charter, economist Guy Standing postulates the existence of a new social class that he calls the “precariat,” characterized by unstable and insecure employment. Although the status of the precariat as a “class” is a matter of some dispute among social scientists, the rise of precarious forms of employment, such as short-term and gig labor, is a commonly cited concern among proponents of basic income.   

According to researchers at University of Waikato, precarity in employment is a particularly pronounced concern among the Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous Polynesian people.

On August 30, at a public event titled “When Work Hardly Pays: A Conversation with Guy Standing,” Mohi Rua (lecturer in Psychology), Darrin Hodgetts (Professor in Social Psychology), and Ottilie Stolte (lecturer in Psychology) will present their research project “Connections and Flows: Precarious Māori Households in Austere Times.”

As the researchers summarize the project:

We draw on recent scholarship on the precariat as an emerging social class comprised of people experiencing unstable employment, unliveable incomes, inadequate state supports, marginalisation and stigma. Our focus is on the Māori precariat, whose rights are being eroded through punitive labour and welfare reforms. While we document issues of employment, food, housing and cultural insecurities shaping precarious lives, we also develop a focus on household connections, practices and strengths.

After this research overview, Bill Cochrane (National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis) and Thomas Stubbs (lecturer in Sociology) will sketch a “demographic silhouette” of the Māori precariat, one of the key components of the “Connections and Flows” project.

These presentations will lay the ground for Standing’s lecture, in which he will discuss his theory of the precariat and its implications.   

See the event flyer from the University of Waikato for details.

On the following day, Standing will head to Auckland to speak at an event on basic income convened by the New Zealand Fabian Society.


Reviewed by Russell Ingram

Photo: Māori rock carving, CC BY 2.0 Tom Hall

Kate McFarland

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 500 articles.

I was a statistician, then a philosopher, then a journalist for a certain Basic Income News, and I have never been the sort to wed myself to any specific position or career path. (I have always chosen to remain in the precariat for this reason: my sense of duty is strong enough that I’d risk imperiling my own self-development if I were to accept a permanent position.) If you want to learn more about what I’m about, and how I see my ideal roles in the basic income community going forth, read the “cover letter” of sorts that is my Patreon homepage (updated November 2017).

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