Tag Archives: precarious work

Dr. Emily Grabham at Osgoode: “Remaindered Lives”

“Time, ‘Remaindered Lives’, and the 26 Week Qualifying Period”
Talk by Dr. Emily Grabham, Reader in Law at Kent Law School
Monday, September 28, 2015
Room 2027 @ Osgoode 

event poster, all info included in post Abstract: 
In a recent article published in South Atlantic Quarterly, Neferti Tadiar describes the experiences of apparently ‘unskilled’ women labourers in manufacturing centres in Mexico and China as the ‘remaindered lives’ of global capital. Tadiar’s forceful and eloquent account contrasts with the stories of capital’s total seizure of life that can be found in much global north thinking on the present economic moment, stories dominated by entrepreneurs, artisans, and cultivated selves. Arguing that the new political economy of life overlooks the racialised ‘broader immiserative logic’ that creates experiences of life as essentially ongoing degradation, Tadiar reminds us of the surplus and waste that is needed for capital to expand. Life, experienced by some as a project, portfolio or career in particular economic contexts, is experienced by many instead as ‘fate playing’ and wastage.

Yet ‘remaindered lives’ are legally as well as politically or economically achieved. This paper argues that a combination of often outlandishly short contracts with time-related qualifying conditions on employment rights contributes to many women’s experiences not only of work, but also of life, as fateful, full of unanswered hopes and essentially wasted chances. The right to claim ‘family friendly’ rights in UK law is often de-limited by a qualifying period of 26 weeks (6.5 months) work. Yet women working across a range of sectors in the UK find it increasingly hard to obtain contracts of over 3 months. For racialised and immigrant women, obtaining permanent or semi-permanent work is fraught with particular difficulty. Drawing on interviews of women in precarious work, I outline the strangely productive effects on lives that happen when new contractual practices meet apparently marginal provisions in apparently progressive labour legislation. Through a renewed focus on legal technicalities, the hope is that we can continue the work of accounting for the production of ‘remaindered lives’ through the regulation of labour.

About Dr. Emily Grabham (from her profile page at Kent Law School, found here):

BA (Law) University of Cambridge; LLM Queen’s University, Canada; MSc (Gender, Society & Culture) Birkbeck College, London; PhD (Law) University of Kent. Qualified Solicitor.

Emily Grabham is a Reader in the Law School. Emily’s primary research areas include labour law, law and time, interdisciplinary perspectives on labour and value, and feminist legal theory. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to legal analysis, drawing on methods and perspectives from legal anthropology, feminist theory, science and technology studies, and critical legal theory. Her current research includes:

1. Law and time. Emily’s forthcoming monograph Doing Things with Time (University of Toronto Press, 2016) draws on perspectives from actor-network theory and legal anthropology, as well as empirical legal research, to think about how legal temporalities are ‘brewed’ in UK and Canadian Law. Case studies include debates about ‘progression’ and ‘likelihood’ in the context of HIV law, ‘work-life balance’ in labour law, and ‘transition’ in the context of transgender legal rights.

2. Work-life balance. Her current project investigates the development and rationale of ‘work-life balance’ laws as a means of resolving tensions in unpaid care and work, drawing on legal ethnography, doctrinal analysis, and feminist legal theory. This feminist genealogy of work-life balance law in the UK is partially funded through an ESRC ‘Future Research Leaders’ award:Balancing Precarious Work and Care.

3. Regulating Time Network. With Sian Beynon Jones (Sociology, University of York UK), Emily co-ordinates the AHRC-funded scholarly network Regulating Time: New Perspectives on Regulation, Law and Temporalities. This interdisciplinary network investigates how law and regulation are shaped by dominant concepts of time.

Emily is also co-founder (with Judy Fudge) of the Gendering Labour Law Research Network.

She is a member of the peer review colleges of the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She sits on the editorial board of Feminist Legal Studies.

Coming up: Whatcott, Audre Lorde's Legacy (Toronto), Vulnerable Workers Report

Whatcott is finally coming out from the SCC today, after 16 months (usually, cases do not take that long – 12 months is a long time, in fact).  What was it about? You can find factums here the hearing webcast here (lots of interveners, long hearing!) and the lower court decision here.

See the SCC summary :

Human rights – Freedom of conscience and religion – Freedom of expression – Freedom from discrimination – Hate propaganda – Respondent distributing flyers containing crude, harsh and demeaning comments about potential sexual practices of same sex partners – Whether the appellate court was correct in holding that the flyers did not violate s. 14(1)(b)  of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, S.S. 1979, c. S-24.1 (the “Code”) – What is the correct process, and which contextual factors should human rights administrative decision-makers and courts consider, when applying hate propaganda provisions of human rights legislation so that free expression is not unduly limited, the right to be free from discrimination is protected and the State’s obligations to protect citizens from incitement to hate is met Does “sexual orientation” include sexual practices and, if so, to what extent Is it possible to “love the sinner, hate the sin” so that hateful messages directed at conduct do not violate hate propaganda provisions of human rights legislation.

The Respondent, on behalf of the Christian Truth Activists, distributed four flyers in the mailboxes of various homes in Saskatoon and Regina in 2001 and 2002. Four persons who received the flyers filed complaints alleging that the material in them “promotes hatred against individuals because of their sexual orientation” in violation of s. 14(1)(b) of the Code. The Applicant appointed a Tribunal to hear the complaints. The Tribunal concluded that the flyers contravened the Code.  The Respondent appealed, arguing that he was exercising his right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion and that the flyers do not violate the Code. Alternatively, he argued that if the materials exhibit hate, it is directed towards sexual behaviour, which is not a prohibited ground. If sexual behaviour is a prohibited ground within the meaning of sexual orientation, he argued that it is overbroad and should be inoperative to the extent that it conflicts with s. 4 and 5 of the Code and s. 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.




Community Arts Practice, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

in association with Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto Invite you to


CHECK OUT: https://www.facebook.com/events/563445090342037/

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: #audrelordeslegacy2013

Medicines for Survival: Indigenous Knowledge and the Sacred: a lecture by M. Jacqui Alexander

DATE: Thursday March 7th PLACE: HNES 140, FES, York University TIME: 6 p.m. http://www.utoronto.ca/ethnicstudies/fac_wgsi.html

Litanies for our Survival: Visual and Performative Conversations with Audre Lorde and inaugural exhibition in new Community Arts Practice Space

DATE: Thursday March 7th PLACE: HNES 283 and throughout the building, FES, York University TIME: 7:30 p.m.

Film screening, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992 (directed by Dagmar Schultz)  Followed by panel discussion with Dagmar Schultz, Marion Kraft, Gloria Wekker, M. Jacqui Alexander, Carol Allain, Farrah Khan, Bonita Lawrence

[see clip above]

DATE: Friday March 15th  PLACE: William Doo Auditorium, University of Toronto, 45 Willcocks Street  TIME: 6:30 p.m.

Audre Lorde, the highly influential, award winning African-American    lesbian poet came to live in West-Berlin in the 1980s. During her    stay as a visiting professor, she was the mentor and catalyst who    ignited the Afro-German movement. Lorde also had a decisive impact    on white women, challenging them to acknowledge the significance    of their white privilege and learning to deal with difference in constructive    ways.

What’s (Homo)Sexuality got to do with it? Lecture by Gloria Wekker, with responses from Anna Agathangelou and Jin Haritaworn, chaired by Ena Dua

DATE: Tuesday March 19th  PLACE: HNES 140, FES, York University  TIME: 1 p.m.

“After the 9-5 in Audre’s Livingroom” (An intimate, collaborative poetry marathon recite & respond multidisciplinary hangout!)  presented by backforward collective  

DATE: Thursday March 21st PLACE: Whippersnapper Gallery, 594b Dundas St. West TIME: 6 – 11 pm





The Law Commission of Ontario is releasing the Final Report on Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work April 3 10-1130AM at the Law Society of Upper Canada.  Details + RSVP here.  See here for a newspaper piece on the Comission’s work and here for the Consultation Paper, Background Paper  and Interim Report.