Antonio A. Casilli on Tue, 17 Feb 2009 12:07:36 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> (one catholic systematically usurping it)

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 12:24 AM, Theo Honohan <>
> If, as the page itself says, "In its English usage, Precarity was
> first used by Léonce Crenier, a Catholic monk who had previously been
> active as an anarcho-communist." then the situation is more subtle and
> less antagonistic than Alex suggests.  The most inclusive option would
> be to place the page in both categories or in neither.

I tend to disagree with Theo - and agree with Alex. Articles like
this are supposed to be effective tools for anyone wanting to
achieve up-to-date information and understanding of precarity. Now,
as the present understanding on precarity is linked to the current
international movements about/against precarization of labour
conditions, keeping the article focused as to its categorization is
important to ensure searchability and maximum impact.

Keeping the article focused is also important to prevent further
conceptual an political hijacking. Sure, if a catholic monk used
the term first, this means the concept is somehow enrooted in
Christianism. But which left-wing ideology or notion can't count a
Christian origin ? Communism, for one, sprung from pioneers like late
Antiquity Christian communities or Protestant reformer Thomas Muentzer
- but I'm not aware of anyone actively working to include the related
Wikipedia article into the "Religion" category.

About the fact that claiming this notion to one particular progressive
movement is not progressive, well, I wouldn't bore you with the trite
pragmatic argument for this being "a maybe-not-that-progressive
means to a progressive end". Let me just say that, if indeed not
progressive, this is a democratic measure in that it is essentially
majoritarian in nature. Wikipedia articles are not only about
consensus among contributors, but also about *meeting the needs
of a majority of readers*. If we forget about this, I'm afraid we
would fall into the old pedantic logic of encyclopaedia entries
which are accurate, but completely useless to their readers. In the
current political situation, how many Social Christians are, in your
opinion, actually searching Wikipedia for "Precarity"? And how many
workers/students/potential activists? It is my opinion that Social
Christians are outnumbered.


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