Precarization of work and employment in the light of competitive Europeanization and the fragmented and flexible regime of European production

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikel


In current debates on precarization in Europe, a transnational and more class-based perspective is demanded. While fully supporting this request, this article nevertheless notices that, often, when it comes to the economic logic of current Europeanization, scholars have only taken a one-sided look at financial capital and financialization. What is needed is a deeper conceptual understanding of European labour and production processes and how their transnational organization is interwoven with both the European integration project and rising precarization. In an inter-disciplinary approach, combining critical political economy, economic and social geography, and the sociology of work and industry, this article seeks to tackle the problem and develops three main arguments. The first is that, long before the 2008ff. crisis, a mode of Europeanization as multi-scalar competitive integration developed, one that, basically, takes socio-spatial unevenness as a competitive advantage. The second argument is that the backbone of this competitive Europeanization mode is a transnationalized European regime of fragmented and flexible production. This regime particularizes labour and labour processes on all social scales, within and beyond nation-states, by putting them in a competitive relation to each other. The third argument is that due to permanent transnational restructuring and technological (digital) modernization, no stable socio-spatial division of labour within and among the European countries arises. Instead, permanently changing forms of labour’s social polarization occur, a finding that questions classic ideas of social development through economic and technological modernization. Precarization, defined as the detachment of dependent labour working conditions from the means of integrative social participation, hereby describes a specific concentration of a nevertheless wider structural uncertainty that is inherent to both the mode of European integration and the regime of European production.

FachzeitschriftCapital & Class
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2020

Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2012

  • 502 Wirtschaftswissenschaften
  • 507 Humangeographie, Regionale Geographie, Raumplanung
  • 506 Politikwissenschaften


  • Europeanization, labour process, precarization, production, transnationalization