Pandemic precarity

Ann Cassiman*, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Lotte Meinert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperEditorialpeer-review


This editorial highlights how the Covid-19 pandemic has magnified precarity as a global life condition. At the same time, it has also emphasized inequality and exposed how some lives are more precarious than others. Those working in the so-called informal economy have been proportionally harder hit. In sub-Saharan Africa, where most of the economy is informal, many rely on improvisation tactics for everyday survival and well-being. Yet, in order to grasp these everyday tactics, the authors suggest that we move beyond two stereotypical ideas about Africa: the suffering and the resilient precariat. The discourse on precarity is often misleading and patronizing, pointing to the ways humans either suffer or transcend victimhood. In everyday lives, humans devise tactics — within larger structures and strategies beyond our control, such as the global pandemic — for making a living and creating lives worth living.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnthropology Today
Pages (from-to)1-2
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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