Spectral Uncertainties: A review of Precarity and Loss: On Certain and Uncertain Properties of Life and Work
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Precarity and Loss: On Certain and Uncertain Properties of Life and Work is composed of an extensive introduction outlining the scope of the book and five chapters examining various discourses on uncertainty in order to assess and represent the possibilities of escaping may be provisionally differentiated into material precarity and existential precariousness. Each of the chapters addresses a different set of questions-of what, how, why, where, and who-thereby ordering the content according to the inquiries that are basic in information gathering and problem solving. The first chapter poses the question “What?”, predominantly with regard to loss as well as time, and comments on two major issues: perishability and the idea of having time. The focus in the second chapter is on “How?”, particularly on how time and work are used, and on the relations between economy and aesthetics, illustrated by the discussion of, inter alia, John Ruskin’s discourses on work and art, or Oscar Wilde’s notion of individualism. The third chapter revisits the uncertainty in / of Descartes’s writing and examines “the threat of there being nothing instead of something” that Rachwał sees as standing “behind the founding question of metaphysics asking ‘Why is there something instead of nothing?’” (Heidegger as cited in Rachwał, 2016, p. 51). The fourth chapter is dedicated to the question “Where?” and investigates the spaces, physical and conceptual, that answer to and oppose precarity and precariousness. The final chapter is a manifesto of sorts which, by addressing those subjected to precarity and precariousness, performatively re-constitutes them as subjects, turning them into a collectivity of “the Precariat; or All Together Now” (p. 105).
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