Class, Precarity, and Anxiety under Neoliberal Global Capitalism

Circumstantial precarity correlates with anxiety, but the relationship is complex because people often quell anxiety by denying precarity. This article focuses in particular on how in this neoliberal era such psychological responses to precarity are class variegated and articulated with neoliberal ideology. Because this field of research is largely uncharted, this paper pays considerable attention to developing a conceptual framework appropriate to this task. This framework is based in the distinction between “ontological security” and “existential anxiety” that is correlated with an innovative account of the contemporary global class structure presented as a stratification of security/precarity, and linked with an adaption of Gramsci’s theory of ideology. From this basis, likely collective subjective responses are “imputed,” adapting Lukács’ theory, from different strategic vantage points within the contemporary neoliberal form of the global class structure. As part of the project to resist neoliberalism, final discussion focuses on how anxiety might be quelled without resort to denial.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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