English title: Voice and Insecurity: Political Participation Among Members of the Precariat

Author(s): Anna Kiersztyn -

Language: English

Type: Book chapter

Year: 2017

Abstract

This chapter looks at civic activism among a specific group of the economically disadvantaged in Poland, namely, those who suffer from precarious labour market conditions. This dimension of social inequality is particularly relevant in the Polish context: in the last few years, around 27% of workers had a temporary job – almost twice the EU average. Fixed-term employment in Poland is concentrated among young workers, in low-status occupations, and is associated with significantly lower wages. It is also likely to affect civic engagement, though the literature offers conflicting expectations with regards to the direction of this relationship. Further, it is possible that the difference between the economically insecure and those holding more stable employment lies not so much in their general propensity for participation, but rather in the preferred forms if civic activism. Precarious employment, while reducing traditional, institutionalized political and civic participation, may foster more individualized and informal activities, which are practiced outside of the institutionalized political realm. These so-called emerging forms of civic engagement include internet campaigns and online petition signing, participation in ad hoc demonstrations or protests, as well as political consumerism. I address these issues using quantitative data from two sources: the Polish Panel Survey POLPAN (Wave 6, 2013) and the Polish edition of the European Social Survey (a pooled sample of all respontents participating in Rounds 1 to 6, 2002-2012). Both surveys were conducted on nationally representative samples of the Polish adult population. The data include detailed information on the respondents' labour market position, as well as several indicators of civic activism, such as participation in demonstrations or gatherings, signing petitions, and others. The results point to a negative relationship between precarious employment and civic engagement conditional on education. However, it appears that what is affected is not the percentage of individuals who ever engage in either the conventional or the emerging forms of participation, but rather the degree of involvement, understood in terms of participation intensity or engaging in more than one activity.

From page no: 200

To page no: 228

Anthology: Civil Society Revisited: Lessons from Poland