Sub-theme 32: Embodying Precarious Work: Intersectional Precariousness and Organizing for a Good Life

Amanda M. Peticca-Harris
Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
Annalisa Murgia
University of Milan, Italy
M.N. Ravishankar
Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Call for Papers

In all occupational sectors and organizations, we can locate people doing precarious work, “from taxi-drivers in China to managers across Europe” (Alberti et al., 2018: 454) to those working in academia (Ivancheva et al., 2019). Precarious work, that is, low wages, atypical employment, and lack of trade union representation is what we have come to expect now from contemporary work within an unsupportive neoliberal landscape (Choonara, 2019). Precarious workers then are required to be ‘entrepreneurs of themselves’ (Foucault, 2008), believing themselves to be masters of their own destiny (Lorey, 2015). Within this enterprise culture (du Gay, 1996), individual’s hopes and dreams of ‘something better’ are transformed into ‘mobility power’ (Smith, 2006), fueling movement to overcome their station in life; as they shift to self-employment or traverse geographical boundaries as ‘precarious citizens’ (Lori, 2017) – with a status of migrant, asylum-seeker, or refugee.
The doing of precarious work does not in itself translate to precariousness (Armano & Murgia, 2013; Peticca-Harris et al., 2020b), which can be conceptualized as an experiential embodied condition that dynamically shifts and is shaped by the intersecting inter-subjectivities (Alberti, 2014; Armano et al., 2022). Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989; McDowell, 2008) considers the pluralization of discrimination and marginalization for people based on intersecting and compounding differences in ethnicity, caste, socio-economic status, gender, age, sexuality, immigrant and refugee status, and dis/ability. An intersectional lens provides a way to unpack experiences of precariousness, for example, how women from minority groups, with migrant backgrounds and low education tend to have the greatest exposure to unemployment, under-employment and precarious work, with temporary and atypical employment in sectors such as health, cleaning, care, social services, hospitality, education and retail (Eurostat, 2018). But also, how migrant workers may resist precariousness, based on the degree of agency that they have in deciding when, how, where to move, as well as the social resources of support afforded to them beyond waged labour (Alberti, 2014; Vickers, 2019).
In management and organization studies, scholarship exploring experiences of precariousness using an intersectional lens has been at best slow (Betti, 2018) despite continued calls for research (Alberti & Iannuzzi, 2020; Atewologun et al., 2016). In this subtheme, we aim to go beyond nebulous structures that perpetuate precarity (Kalleberg, 2009; Vosko, 2010). We see an urgent need to debride experiences within precarious work, honing in on the ways in which precariousness is existential, embodied and entangled with other relational aspects of life, including but also beyond the confines of work and working (Peticca-Harris et al., 2020a). As a double-edged sword of insecurity and aspiration, precariousness is woven into the bodily folds of people’s experiences – their memories and their imagined (better) futures. At the same time, the different forms of precariousness experienced by subjects, as well as the collective experience of intersectionality, can give rise to unprecedented processes of organizing to resist precariousness and build a good life encompassing equality and social inclusion.
Against this backdrop, we invite conceptual, empirical, and/or methodological contributions that engage with the following themes:

  • How might precariousness be theorized using an intersectionally sensitive approach?

  • How do vulnerable groups and marginalized workers articulate and embody precariousness?

  • How are stigmatizing stereotypes based on gender, sexuality, race, age, etc. woven into embodied experiences of precariousness?

  • How do we come to understand the social struggles from which precariousness arises and the subjectivities that it produces and reinforces?

  • How might social crisis (Covid-19, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter) contribute to embodied experiences of precariousness?

  • How has the digitalization of work (e.g., AI, platform-based work, telework) contributed to embodied experiences of precariousness?

  • How do stakeholders (organizations, trade unions, and policy makers) accelerate, mitigate, resist, or neutralize precariousness?

  • What are the methodological opportunities and challenges in analyzing embodied precariousness using an intersectional lens?



  • Alberti, G. (2014): “Mobility strategies, ‘mobility differentials’ and ‘transnational exit’: the experiences of precarious migrants in London’s hospitality jobs.” Work, Employment and Society, 28 (6), 865–881.
  • Alberti, G., & Iannuzzi, F.E. (2020): “Embodied intersectionality and the intersectional management of hotel labour: The everyday experiences of social differentiation in customer‐oriented work.” Gender, Work & Organization, 27 (6), 1165–1180.
  • Alberti, G., Bessa, I., Hardy, K., Trappmann, V., & Umney, C. (2018): “In, against and beyond precarity: Work in insecure times.” Work, Employment and Society, 32 (3), 447–457.
  • Armano, E., & Murgia, A. (2013): “The precariousnesses of young knowledge workers. A subject oriented approach.” Global Discourse, 3 (3–4), 486–501.
  • Armano, E., Morini, C., & Murgia, A. (2022): “Conceptualising Precariousness. A Subject-oriented Approach.” In: J. Choonara, R. do Carmo & A. Murgia (eds.): Faces of Precarity: Critical Perspectives on Work, Subjectivities and Struggles, Bristol: Bristol University Press, 29–43.
  • Atewologun, D., Sealy, R., & Vinnicombe, S. (2016): “Revealing intersectional dynamics in organizations: Introducing ‘intersectional identity work’.” Gender, Work & Organization, 23 (3), 223–247.
  • Betti, E. (2018): “Historicizing precarious work: Forty years of research in the social sciences and humanities.” International Review of Social History, 63 (2), 273–319.
  • Choonara, J. (2019): Insecurity, Precarious Work and Labour Markets: Challenging the Orthodoxy. Cham: Springer.
  • Crenshaw, K. (1989): “Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of anti-discrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics.” University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989 (1), 139–167.
  • du Gay, P. (1996): Consumption and Identity at Work. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Buckingham, S., Dalla Pozza, V., Dupont, C., Fiadzo, C., Hadjivassiliou, K., & Todaro, L. (2020): Precarious Work from a Gender and Intersectionality Perspective, and Ways to Combat it. Brussels: European Parliament.
  • Foucault, M. (2008): The Birth of Biopolitics: Lecture at the Collège de France, 1978–1979. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • International Labour Organization (2020): “Fewer Women than Men will Regain Employment During the COVID-19 Recovery Says ILO”, first published online on July 19, 2021; available at:
  • Ivancheva, M., Lynch, K., & Keating, K. (2019): “Precarity, gender and care in the neoliberal academy.” Gender, Work & Organization, 26 (4), 448–462.
  • Kalleberg, A.L. (2009): “Precarious work, insecure workers: Employment relations in transition.” American Sociological Review, 74 (1), 1–22.
  • Lorey, I. (2015): State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious. London: Verso.
  • Lori, N.A. (2017): Statelessness, ‘in-between’ Statuses, and Precarious Citizenship. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • McDowell, L. (2008): “Thinking through work: complex inequalities, constructions of difference and trans-national migrants.” Progress in Human Geography, 32 (4), 491–507.
  • Peticca-Harris, A., de Gama, N., & Ravishankar, M.N. (2020a): “Postcapitalist precarious work and those in the ‘drivers’ seat: Exploring the motivations and lived experiences of Uber drivers in Canada.” Organization, 27 (1), 36–59.
  • Peticca-Harris, A., Navazhylava, K., & Shanahan, G. (2020b): “A juggly mummy’s life history of teaching yoga: embodied postfeminism and neoliberal spirituality.” In: E. Bell, S. Gog, A. Simionca, & S. Taylor (eds.): Spirituality, Organization and Neoliberalism. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 67–86.
  • Smith, C. (2006): “The double indeterminacy of labour power: labour effort and labour mobility.” Work, Employment and Society, 20 (2), 389–402.
  • Vickers, T. (2020): Borders, Migration and Class in an Age of Crisis: Producing Workers and Immigrants. Bristol: Bristol University Press.
  • Vosko, L.F. (2010): Managing the Margins. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Amanda M. Peticca-Harris is an Associate Professor of Management in the Department of People, Organizations & Society at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. Her research explores new forms of work and contemporary careers, with a strong focus on themes such as precariousness, changing work practices and relationships and work-life tensions. Amanda has published in ‘Organization’, ‘Human Relations’, ‘Organizational Research Methods’, and ‘Journal of Business Ethics’.
Annalisa Murgia is an Associate Professor at the University of Milan, Italy. Her research focuses on how precariousness is shaping contemporary subjectivity and on the forms of resistance raised by precarious workers. Annalisa’s work appears in such outlets as ‘Organization’, ‘Research in the Sociology of Organizations’, ‘Gender, Work and Organization’, as well as in edited scholarly books.
M.N. Ravishankar is Professor of Globalisation & Technology and Associate Dean (Research) at the School of Business & Economics, Loughborough University, UK. He has published peer-reviewed articles on the management of digital innovations, social entrepreneurship, and global technology sourcing. He is active in leading international professional bodies such as the Academy of Management and Association for Information Systems and has led numerous research symposia and professional development workshops for early career researchers and PhD students.