Labor in the uncertainty epoch

Labor in the uncertainty epoch

Аnisimov R.I.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Dean of the Faculty of Sociology, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia

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Аnisimov R.I. Labor in the uncertainty epoch. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 11. P. 44-52


The article deals with concepts of the uncertainty growth of labor relations in modern society. The Western and Russian experience of studying this problem was analyzed. It was revealed that the precariat concept of the British scientist G. Standing, in which the growth of uncertainty in labor was considered from the viewpoint of changing working conditions, is the most widespread in the academic community. This position is opposed by the concept of the American scientist D. Pink, who focuses attention on changing the content of labor in the post-industrial economy. The positions of G. Standing and D. Pink reflect opposite estimates of the growing uncertainty in the labor sphere. A comparative analysis of both concepts was carried out in this article. The general foundations of the concepts are following: both authors consider the transition of a large number of workers from standard employment to non-standard, indicate similar reasons for the growth of uncertainty in labor activity. This is globalization, the growing flexibility of the economy, the development of new technologies. Distinctive features of the concepts are: theoretical and methodological basis of the G. Standing’s concept is holism, D. Pink is a methodological individualist, Standing studies employees, Pink – self-employed. Standing considers changes in working conditions, Pink – change in the value orientations of workers. Standing proposes to solve the problem of growing uncertainty by introducing an unconditional base income and advocating Social-Democratic positions. Pink suggests reducing bureaucratic barriers to independent agents and acting from liberal positions. The common drawback of both concepts is their one-factority, which does not permit to reflect the complexity of this phenomenon. Therefore, for a more holistic understanding of labor activity with increasing uncertainty, the article attempted to synthesize both concepts by combining the conditions and content of labor, as well as the sector of the economy in which work is done.

uncertainty; non-standard labor relations; precariat; a nation of free agents


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Content No 11, 2017