This is a free event but registration is required in advance.
This is the first event of the annual PGR-led 'Law and Social Justice' seminar series. The seminar series focuses on new and innovative approaches to methodology and interdisciplinary research that focuses on the relationship between law and social justice. The seminars will be of interest to academics, PGRs and other researchers working in socio-legal, critical areas of law. This first seminar will be of particular interest to those using spatial theory, feminist and anthropological approaches and ideas surrounding 'lived lives'.
Emily Grabham: What Time(s) for Resistance? 'Fate-playing' and 'Newness' in Precarious Work
IIn a recent article published in South Atlantic Quarterly, Neferti Tadiar describes the experiences of apparently 'unskilled' women labourers in manufacturing centres in Mexico and China as the 'remaindered lives' of global capital. Tadiar's forceful and eloquent account contrasts with the stories of capital's total seizure of life that can be found in much global north thinking on the present economic moment, stories dominated by entrepreneurs, artisans, and cultivated selves. Arguing that the new political economy of life overlooks the racialised 'broader immiserative logic' that creates experiences of life as essentially ongoing degradation, Tadiar reminds us of the surplus and waste that is needed for capital to expand. Life, experienced by some as a project, portfolio or career in particular economic contexts, is experienced by many instead as 'fate playing' and wastage.
Yet 'remaindered lives' are legally as well as politically or economically achieved. Drawing on interviews of women in precarious work in the UK, this paper traces the 'remaindered lives' produced in, alongside, and through UK labour legislation, which, in key respects, excludes and marginalises precarious workers. Unlike the 'orderly career' imagined by so-called 'family-friendly rights', with its implied temporalities of progression and investment, women in precarious work experience their lives through temporalities of what Tadiar would term ‘fate playing’: clusters of provisional orientations, chances, half-made decisions, and degrees of subjugation in conditions of uncertainty and lack of meaningful choice. For racialised and immigrant women, obtaining permanent or semi-permanent work is fraught with particular difficulty. Yet resistance is ongoing in these women's lives: they often report challenging their employers for better terms and conditions; they educate themselves and others about legal rights; they save against the possibility of future lack of work - in short, they deploy a series of tactics and strategies to continue in work and continue providing for dependents that points to the generative potential of alternative temporal frames of working and living. Through a renewed focus on time, experiences of time and the time(s) of legal technicalities, my hope is that we can continue the work of accounting for the production of 'remaindered lives' through the regulation of labour. More specifically, by focusing on the disruptive 'other side' of the orderly career, and its temporal dimensions, the everyday resistance practices of precarious workers emerges.
Dr Emily Grabham is a Reader in the Law School. Emily's primary research areas include labour law, law and time, interdisciplinary perspectives on labour and value, and feminist legal theory. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to legal analysis, drawing on methods and perspectives from legal anthropology, feminist theory, science and technology studies, and critical legal theory.
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School of Law, University of Leeds
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