Precarity and Precarization of Labour Markets in Europe and Latin America

The terms “precarity” and “precarization” are often used in German contexts to characterize the labor market changes since the 1980s and 1990s. These changes include the rise of so-called “atypical” employment agreements such as temporary contracts, part-time work and subcontracts. Currently, the controversial discussion surrounding these terms asks whether precarity and precarization are also applicable to regions of the global south. These terms, however, run the risk of favoring the standard profile of (white) male workers, thus dismissing and essentially ignoring longstanding norms of female, immigrant, youth and elderly labor exploitation in these regions. Heterogeneity has been especially prevalent in the structure of labor markets and informal employment relations in Latin America. Recently, ambivalent developments have led to both political measures for coping with the spread of precarity in some sectors as well as increasing precarization of the labor situation in others. This research undertaking aims to support the dialogue between German and Latin American labor market research; this entails the clarification of certain terminologies and a critical evaluation of current labor market changes – largely accounted for by the growing entanglement of transnational labor markets. Findings from both Germany and Brazil were discussed at a workshop in Berlin and were published in 2014 in a special edition of the Journal for Development Politics (Journal für Entwicklungspolitik). Further workshops and publications are planned.

Supporting Institution: BMBF-Project „“,  FU Berlin                                                      

Project Team: 
External Project Partners: 
Sproll, Dr. Martina, FU Berlin