Free extract from Precarious Spaces

Intellect are delighted to offer a free extract from our latest release, Precarious Spaces. This title addresses current concerns around the instrumentality and agency of art in the context of the precarity of daily life. the below extract is takenf rom the first chapter titles 'Why Precatious Spaces' by Katarzyna Kosmala and Miguel Imas.


This volume addresses current concerns in art discourse around the instrumentality and agency of art in the context of the precarity of daily living, urban informality and the proliferation of alternative forms of organizing. Authors from South America as well as Europe, the United States and Canada engage with spatial strategies behind the utilization of precariousness, and examine ways of challenging forms of precarity, and indeed, the instigation of precarity.

The volume draws upon interdisciplinary research including cultural and visual studies,art theory, organization studies, architecture, urban planning, geography and contemporary philosophy, and supplements local histories and experiences in the Global South, as well as their theoretical frameworks, with theories of art and socio-political practice as they have been debated and developed in European and North American contexts. The book offers a survey of socially and community-engaged art practices in South America and from there expands to address similar issues in the Global North. The individual chapters examine examples of projects based on performances of space that can be seen as exceeding the norm, as well as case studies concerning art-informed inquiry aimed at social and
transformative consequences, set against the backdrop of neo-liberal economies that have contributed to the emergence of precarity in both life and work. Such an inquiry implies not only a particular philosophical and theoretical position, but equally demonstrates how,in practice, groups, individuals, and communities can challenge constructed, established orders to create spaces of emancipation. Thus, the book offers a unique interdisciplinary perspective for engaging with some of the themes of precarious spaces by mobilizing the use of arts-based inquiry both as a research method and as an intervention that aims at social and organizational change; drawing on resources that originate from South America, including examples from Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Chile, supplemented with
insights and resources emerging from the North, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

The key phrases surrounding precarity, such as unstable condition of today’s living;
flexible, context-dependent and time-contingent employment; self-organization, disposability and contingency, have opened up new thresholds in theory development as well as in artcentred activism and the arts more generally. Foster (2009) identifies contemporary art practice with the precarious condition many artists share and respond to by creating meanings from uncertain circumstances, especially through a comment or an evocation of discourse,in response to a political confusion, and in association with socio-economic unrest. Such
processes associated with reimaging the precarious condition into spaces of opportunity also require a theoretical reflection upon the processes of intervention and self-organization. At the same time, the scope of the critique of contemporary Capitalism and neo-liberal sentiments threatens to generalize precarity as a somewhat undifferentiated and ubiquitous condition.

We could argue, following on from Judith Butler’s investigation into human vulnerability in Precarious Lives: The Power of Mourning and Violence (2004), that, while what can be termed as precariousness is common to all life and contemporary living, a state of precarity associated with the contemporary moment of neo-liberalism is largely politically induced and, we would add, requires to be problematized. Precarity commonly refers to a living condition based on temporality, fragmentation and job insecurity in increasingly flexible labour markets. Precarious spaces are often seen as not being stable, settled or well staked out; these spaces are perceived as unstable, unsettled and relatively unmapped or less visible.
Precarious places reflect exposure to spaces that are marginal in our societies (Wacquant, 2008) and yet, often, informality of marginalized groups becomes a groundwork for ‘inverse colonialism’ (Yiftachel, 2009).

To read more from this book please click here to buy your copy.

Posted by Eden Joseph at 11:24 (0) comments
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