Re-Humanising Precarious Work

Re-Humanising Precarious Work

Gordon Preece highlights recent work trends and inhumane material solutions that make any sense of vocation precarious. He asks: how can people meaningfully use their time and cultivate a sense of call in the context of labour deskilling and destabilisation?

Full Title : Re-Humanising Precarious Work: Vocation in Location Versus a New Priesthood of Cosmopolitan Techno-Creatives


This paper examines how increasing monopolisation of Liquid Modernity’s sense of vocation by celebrity techno-creatives (such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos) displaces, divides, dehumanises and destabilises true vocation. Increasing numbers have little long-term sense of relational and creative role responsibility in real time and place—a vocation and location. This sense of dis-location, precarity, and vocational fragility, at work and home, challenges Luther’s more medieval 16th century notion of relatively universal and unchanging, located and integrated vocation. But Luther and the broader Reformed tradition may yet have more to say.

The Rise of the Creative Class leads to its concentration in accompanying cities. Techno-Creatives become a new vocational priesthood of cultural creatives. This aesthetic elite sets the tone of cultural consumerism, as opposed to the surrounding precarious service-class mired in material survival. But this produces its own urban and vocational crisis.

Liquid Modernity’s work patterns produce an increasingly disruptive and inhumane technological pace of change which requires contemporary and classical theological resources for re-humanising it. These include the priority of the general calling to and by Christ and his people over particular callings and individual choices of vocation, the priority of justification by faith—not justification by one’s job—and the symbiotic relationship of vocation and location within a creation/new creation and trinitarian framework.


Rev’d Dr. Gordon Preece is Director of Ethos: Evangelical Alliance Centre for Christianity and Society, Facilitator of the Religion and Social Policy Network at the University of Divinity, and Chair and Executive of the Social Responsibilities Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. Gordon has international leadership roles on the Board of the Theology of Work Project and with the Lausanne Movement’s Marketplace Ministry and Workplace Networks. He is author/editor of thirteen books, about half on ethics and half on work. Gordon is married to Susan and has three adult children and three spirited grandsons.

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