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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

“A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens”

10th June 2015, 18:00, Palace Green Library Learning Centre, Professor Guy Standing (London)

followed by a drinks reception at the Cafe, Palace Green Library.

This event is part of the From "Subjects to Citizens? 800 Years of Citizen Politics" Seminar Series in conjuntion with the Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt Exhibition. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To book click here.

Guy Standing is Professor of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London, and was previously Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath and Professor of Labour Economics at Monash University, Melbourne. Before that, he was Director of the ILO’s Socio-Economic Security Programme (1999-2006) and Director of the ILO’s Labour Market Policies Branch.

An economist, with a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, and a Master’s Degree in industrial relations from the University of Illinois, he is a founder and co-President of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), an NGO promoting basic income as a right, with members in over 50 countries. He has been consultant to many international agencies, including the UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank, European Commission and DFID, as well as governments and trades unions. In 1995-96, he was research director for President Mandela’s Labour Market Policy Commission, co-authoring Re-structuring the Labour Market: The South African Challenge.

Recent books are A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens (Bloomsbury, 2014), The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (Bloomsbury, 2011; second edition, 2014), Social Income and Insecurity in Gujarat (Routledge, 2010), Work after Globalization: Building Occupational Citizenship (Elgar, 2009). The Precariat has been translated into thirteen languages.

For the past four years he has also been working on pilot basic income schemes in India, working with SEWA, a union representing women ‘informal’ workers. Inter alia, this has resulted in S.Davala, R.Jhabvala, S.Mehta and G.Standing, Basic Income: A Transformative Policy for India (New Delhi and London, Bloomsbury, 2015).

Abstract: The Magna Carta was the first class-based set of demands made against the state for rights of citizenship. New classes have emerged at various times in history, and each new class has had to struggle to attain rights. Today’s rapidly growing class is the precariat, consisting of millions of people who are experiencing diverse forms of insecurity, without occupational identity and reduced to being little more than supplicants.

Sadly, neo-liberal and utilitarian political interests have whittled away at the precariat’s civil, political, cultural, social and economic rights. It is the first time in history when a large mass of people have been, in effect, converted from citizens into denizens.

This lecture will define the precariat, show how rights have been taken away, draw out some historical comparisons and present a Charter that would restore and enhance rights of citizenship for what is today’s dangerous class. It draws on a book with the same name. 

Contact for more information about this event.