Poetics of Precarity/Precariousness in Contemporary Spain and Southern Europe

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 


In recent years the concept of precariousness has gained notoriety in academia. Authors such as Judith Butler (2004, 2009), Simon Critchley (2007), Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt (2004), among others use this concept in their theoretical approaches. In the particular case of Spanish authors like Santiago López-Petit (2009), Marina Garcés (2013), or the colective volumes co-edited by Palmar Álvarez and Antonio Gómez López-Quiñones (2016) or the one by Antonio Gómez Villar and Sonia Arribas (2014), this notion has been discussed in order to describe the Spanish current situation, demonstrating its effectiveness to understand Spain´s socio-political context in relation to the 2008 global economic crisis and the austerity policies imposed by the European Union.

However, we believe it is necessary to continue the collective debate about the meaning of the current precarization and its possible representations through artistic and cultural practices. For this reason, we propose the distinction between precarity and precariousness (Butler) in order to put into context the ethical and political aspects of these concepts, and to analyze what kinds of subjectivities (Victim? Militant? Resistant?) emerge from these notions.

In this sense, the seminar will deal with the following questions: how these contemporary conditions and forms of life appear represented in literature and other artistic practices? What kind of subjectivities can be deduced from them? What characteristics would their poetics establish and what political implications would they have? Insofar as other southern European countries like Greece, Portugal, Italy, or France would be immersed in political and economic processes where austerity is imposed and precarization produced, we believe that it is necessary to open the geographical frame and ask about the similarities and the differences on how these countries face their artistic practices.


In face of the growing dissemination of the concepts of precarity and precariousness, we propose thinking the different poetics of precariousness, the types of subjectivities that they suggest, and the problematizations of the different artistic practices that are developing in Spain and other southern European countries affected by austerity policies.