Valeria Pulignano

Faculty of Social Sciences

Resolving Precariousness: Advancing the Theory and Measurement of Precariousness across the paid/unpaid work continuum





About the project

ResPecTMe will generate a new theoretical model of, and a measurement approach and monitoring tools for, precariousness at the paid and unpaid work continuum. By uncovering the unpaid activities that increasingly underlie paid employment as a source of ‘value’ creation in the labour market, ResPecTMe will generate a novel scientific perspective which breaks the paid/unpaid distinction, and rethinks precariousness on the paid/unpaid work continuum.  

The traditional dichotomy of paid (productive or waged) versus unpaid (reproductive or unwaged) work marginalizes unpaid work when conceptualizing precariousness, such as the exposure to unpredictability towards an individual’s future. It also neglects several types of unpaid work such as care work, work as a precondition for welfare payments, and newly emerging on- and offline work in the gig economy for which people in paid work are not compensated or where it is used to access paid work.

ResPecTMe will study workers’ subjectivity within their societal contexts by  using a sequential mix of advanced qualitative and quantitative methodologies in three core areas of work which have undergone relevant transformations since the last decades (i.e. care, crowd/gig- and creative), across and within eight European countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom). The comparative across (and within) country research design will underpin the development of a comprehensive theory of precariousness at the paid/unpaid continuum and contribute to generate a valid, standardized and multi-indicator  measurement of precariousness at this continuum.

The theoretical knowledge, the measurement and the monitoring tools will address ongoing scientific and social challenges on how to study precariousness by innovating current conceptualization of work in the scientific and policy community dealing with precarious work.

Main funding info

  • Programme Funding: Horizon 2020
  • Sub Programme Area: ERC-2018-AdG
  • Project Reference: 833577
  • From: in grant preparation
  • Budget: EUR in grant preparation
  • Contract type: ERC-AdG

More information

  • project website

Contribution to the Key Areas @ KU Leuven

Human Health
Medical Technologies
Bio-sciences & Environment
Materials & Energy Technology
Manufacturing& ICT
Arts, Religion & Culture
Economy, Law & Society
Human behaviour


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n° 833577).