Truths and Unfreedoms of Regimes of Insecurity and the Resistance of the Commons

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Department 1




This paper aims to explore narratives of insecurity to understand how the casualisation of the employment relationship makes life more fragile and precarious. The authors engage in an inquiry about how multinational enterprises (MNEs) structure precariousness for workers in emerging economies. The authors attempt to understand how workers analyse their experiences of precariousness and what form their resistance takes as a result of their analysis.


The authors engage with the narratives of eight Indian workers/trade union activists working in different marginal spaces of the Indian economy to uncover a commons where we are the multitude. By commons, the authors imply shared forms of property, which stand against the concept of private property that is central to the social relations of capitalism. The authors are performing the data of workers by interspersing them in an analysis of angst and hope.


Workers understand their experiences of precariousness as emerging from a complex political economy structured by MNEs, which involves multiple fronts of marginalisation. Workers realize that they need to engage in comprehensive forms of resistance to undo the regimes of precariousness. Workers create shared universes of grief to relate to each other’s experiences of precariousness. The unfreedoms experienced by workers lead to a sharing of the social relations of commons where workers can resist by expressing solidarity with each other.

Practical implications

The authors contribute to practice by arguing that workers’ collectives should not accept the naturalisation of precariousness. By staging a dialogue about the injuries of precariousness, they can craft a politics of resistance that begins the process of commoning.

Social implications

Workers’ politics of resistance can significantly democratise the global political economy in important ways by advancing the potential for commons.


The authors make an original contribution to the study of precariousness in the context of international business by arguing that the experience of precariousness can lead to a commons where workers resist structures of injustice.


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