An image of time based on progressive linearity shapes political modernity: from the past, through the present and toward the future (Rosenberg, Grafton, 2010). This image of time secures the possibility of rational anticipation. The sovereign authority produces a continuous present (Hobbes’s “Artificial eternity of life”, 1651) that allows prediction and social stability. This new sensibility toward history that characterized western culture from Renaissance to Nineteenth century has been described by the historian Reinhardt Koselleck (2007) as a change in the “space of experience” and in the “horizon of expectation”. Since early modernity, experience has become less and less relevant to foretelling the future for it is deemed impossible to extend one’s knowledge of the past into an expectation of what is to come. Historical developments on the scale of the French and Industrial Revolutions weakened the confidence that the future could be known on the basis of the past. The acceleration of time and its opening up to an uncertain but progressive future is among the main features of western industrial culture. Quite differently, contemporary societies seems to weaken this image, leaving the subject to govern himself into a hostile present against an uncertain and unpredictable future. Risk management has nowadays developed as the theoretical model framing any interpretation of the future. In our contribution we will discuss the changes in the experiences of time produced by a peculiar field in which risk management applies: the case of “job precarity”, when it is described under the rhetoric of human capital (Becker, 1975). We will thus focus on themes such as merit, evaluation, flexibility, self-assurance, long life learning as key concepts used in the Italian recent debates on the reform of the job-market. Through the analysis of political texts, documents, interviews, we will describe how the collective understanding of time may have changed, and the extent to which individual experiences of time reflect the rupture of linearity and the affirmation of a “precarious” intertwining of times and temporalities.

Multiple times in a precarious life. Italian debates on job-market and welfare state

ARIENZO, ALESSANDRO
2015

Abstract

An image of time based on progressive linearity shapes political modernity: from the past, through the present and toward the future (Rosenberg, Grafton, 2010). This image of time secures the possibility of rational anticipation. The sovereign authority produces a continuous present (Hobbes’s “Artificial eternity of life”, 1651) that allows prediction and social stability. This new sensibility toward history that characterized western culture from Renaissance to Nineteenth century has been described by the historian Reinhardt Koselleck (2007) as a change in the “space of experience” and in the “horizon of expectation”. Since early modernity, experience has become less and less relevant to foretelling the future for it is deemed impossible to extend one’s knowledge of the past into an expectation of what is to come. Historical developments on the scale of the French and Industrial Revolutions weakened the confidence that the future could be known on the basis of the past. The acceleration of time and its opening up to an uncertain but progressive future is among the main features of western industrial culture. Quite differently, contemporary societies seems to weaken this image, leaving the subject to govern himself into a hostile present against an uncertain and unpredictable future. Risk management has nowadays developed as the theoretical model framing any interpretation of the future. In our contribution we will discuss the changes in the experiences of time produced by a peculiar field in which risk management applies: the case of “job precarity”, when it is described under the rhetoric of human capital (Becker, 1975). We will thus focus on themes such as merit, evaluation, flexibility, self-assurance, long life learning as key concepts used in the Italian recent debates on the reform of the job-market. Through the analysis of political texts, documents, interviews, we will describe how the collective understanding of time may have changed, and the extent to which individual experiences of time reflect the rupture of linearity and the affirmation of a “precarious” intertwining of times and temporalities.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/612084
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