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Cultural Anthropology

EXISTENTIAL DAMAGES: The Injury of Precarity Goes to Court

Authors

  • NOELLE J. MOLÉ


ABSTRACT

Psychological workplace harassment, called “mobbing,” can include vicious bullying but also practices normative within neoliberal labor regimes. It has become an urgent problem in Italy and led to the creation of a judicial category: “existential damages.” Why acknowledge workers’ existential injury during a period marked by the precipitous loss of their safeguards and value? Awarding existential damages displaces the locus of agency from the cause of economic conditions to their effects: from labor policy and norms to the disordered social relations among workers. Obscured are frictions within Italy's uncoordinated political apparatus and how workers’ injury is enacted and maintained. [labor, law, injury, Italy, state, existential, suffering, neoliberalism, precarity]

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