This article explores the universalizing logic of precarity and precariousness in global studies discourse. Originally articulated in the work of Guy Standing and Judith Butler, this logic presupposes a possibility for a global politics of equality between precarious subjects in the North and South based on an emergent shared horizon of suffering. In a close reading of Standing and Butler, I challenge claims about equivalence by calling attention to the liberal analytics that inform their work. Drawing on a postcolonial attunement to historically constituted exclusions, I argue that precarity is better understood as a dis-ordering experience of sovereign subjectivity whose principal referent is the liberal not global subject of precarity. Globalizing the liberal subject of precarity entails the recuperation of its constitutive outside, namely the Third World, as the original site of abjection. The de-politicizing implications of attempts to universalize the subject of precarity are briefly outlined in conclusion.
- liberal subject
- Judith Butler