Call for Papers: Papers on Precarious Work to be Published in Research in the Sociology of Work

Precarious Work: Causes, Characteristics and Consequences

 Call for Papers to be Published in Research in the Sociology of Work

 Arne L. Kalleberg and Steven Vallas, editors

The economic crisis of 2008-9 has exacerbated a long-standing trend in industrial nations toward the rise of precarious work, or work that is uncertain, insecure and in which risks are shifted from employers (and governments) to workers. Notable examples of precarious work include temporary and contract work as well as the jobs in the “gig” or sharing economy.  Surely, many workers derive an increased sense of autonomy from the rise of these forms of work. But for other workers—very likely a majority of those affected—the expansion of precarious work represents a shift toward more insecure and unrewarding positions, signaling a dramatic shift in the very logic that governs work and employment under contemporary capitalism. Though these developments have been much studied, much remains to be known.

This Special Issue of Research in the Sociology of Work welcomes papers that investigate or critically explore the causes, characteristics and consequences of precarious work.  We especially welcome papers that address issues such as:

  • What are the chief causes of this dramatic shift in the structure and operation of the labor market? How have neo-liberal economic and political trends contributed to the rise of precarious employment?
  • What are the different manifestations of precarious work and which social groups — including those defined by gender, race and ethnicity, and/or class boundaries– have been most grievously affected by labor market precarity?
  • What are the most important consequences of precarious work? How have workers and job seekers responded to these shifts in their work situations? And what alternatives can be envisioned that might lead down more equitable and healthy paths?

Papers in this special issue will address these and kindred questions, and in so doing address the nature and the effects of precarious work in the contemporary setting.

Deadline for submission: January 1, 2017.

Suggested guidelines: Papers should run roughly 10-12k words, including references and tables. Papers can develop new theoretical and conceptual frameworks and/or present empirical analyses. Submissions (or questions) should be sent electronically to the editors at

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