Precarity of Life Arrangements: A Perspective on Precarious Working and Living Conditions Expanded by Recognition

Mona Motakef, Christine Wimbauer


Recognition has not previously played a systematic role in precarity research, even though precarity—closely related to employment or expanded to the life context— also challenges the recognition of relationships. Consequently, we have developed an empirically based perspective of precarity of life arrangements that is expanded by recognition (HONNETH, BUTLER). The empirical foundation is provided by partially guideline-based and partially narrative-based individual and couple interviews with 24 precarious workers (who are employed insecure, flexible or e.g., part time and/or have low income) which we have evaluated in a case-reconstructive and case-comparative manner, based on the hermeneutic sociology of knowledge. We illustrate the strengths of our eight-dimensional heuristics in excerpts by using the example of one precarious worker and two precariously employed couples. With our perspective expanded by recognition the subject-oriented and knowledge-sociological interpretations of precariously employed "individuals in relationships," as well as the accumulations of various strains essential for life-arrangement research, become visible. In addition, this allows to understand the constitutional contexts, relations and interconnections of different precarity dimensions . Our research heuristics can therefore also inspire further research that is focused on the multidimensionality and complexity of insecure living conditions.


recognition; precarity; precarization; gainful employment; care; social inequality; life arrangement; gender; couple relationships; Honneth; Butler; interpretative paradigm; hermeneutic sociology of knowledge; couple interview


Copyright (c) 2019 Mona Motakef, Christine Wimbauer

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