№ 3, 2022
New Forms of Employment and New Social Groups: Projection into Politics (Case of Spain)
The post-industrial era that the modern world ushered in has radically changed the labor market structure. The share of population employed in primary (agriculture) and secondary (industry) economic sectors has noticeably decreased while the third (services) and fourth (education, science, and healthcare) sectors have gained significance and increased shares of employment. However, unlike the first sector and especially unlike the second sector, in which labor is almost always systemic, the third and fourth sectors possess a huge demand for unstable (flexible, unsustainable, atypical) forms of employment. Therefore, the social structure of the society has witnessed the emergence of a massive layer of population who is not permanently employed. This is the so-called precariat, deprived of stable social guaranties that the workers enjoyed in the industrial era. In this context the case of Spain is of interest, since it outpaces the majority of the European Union countries in terms of the share of atypical employment. The precarization in this country leaves a deep imprint on various spheres of the society, including the party-political system. Precariat demonstrates a whole gamut of reactions to the surrounding world — ranging from extreme apathy and alienation from the political system to different forms of activism. Nevertheless, the precariat is far from turning into the “class for itself”, as it does not have a specific political consciousness. Without making political demands and lacking organizations that promote their interests, the politically active precariat frequently uses new types of social movements organized by social networks in order to express its discontent. The Spanish experience demonstrates that, in general, unstable employment becomes a source of societal risks. The reduction of the scale of such employment is the imperative for that part of the ruling class that is seriously concerned with the nefarious implications of mass precarization.
Khenkin S. M.
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