The PREWORK ("Young precarious workers in Poland and Germany: a comparative sociological study on working and living conditions, social consciousness and civic engagement") research project seeks to propose new theoretical insights into the extent to which precarious working and living conditions influence the emergent forms of social, class and political consciousness, individual life strategies and collective civic engagement of young workers in Poland and Germany.

Taking as a case example the situation of young precarious workers, the research seeks to advance the relational, historical and interpretive approach to precarity in which the social boundaries of the concept are determined by institutional features of national varieties of capitalism, cultural and political discourses of “normal employment” as well as the practices of social actors.

We are extending the project to study young precarious workers in the UK and Greece, in collaboration with colleagues from CERIC (Ioulia Bessa and Charles Umney), as well as Chris McLachlan (Cranfield) and Laura Cartwright (LSSI).

For more information, visit the project website.

The project is funded by the German Science Foundation and National Science Centre. Funding scheme: Beethoven | Project: TR1378/1-1; UMO-2014/15/G/HS4/04476.

Key findings

  • Precarity during young adulthood is experienced very different from precarity in other age groups.
  • Precarity becomes the new normal for young people and hence young people do not show much resistance against precarious forms of employment.
  • Precarity impairs pursuing a professional career.
  • Coping with precarity is individualised; the insecure labour market conditions are not perceived as a structural problem but as an individual challenge that needs to be answered by individual investments. If precarity persists it is perceived as an individual failure.
  • This individualisation leads to a lack of protest and a lack of potential rising class consciousness. 
  • Employment precarity is closely linked to other vulnerabilities. We have developed first analysis of the relationship between mental health, emotions, affective resources and precarity.

Publications and outputs


Mrozowicki, A. and Trappmann, V. (Accepted: 2020) Precarity as a Biographical Problem? Young Workers Living with Precarity in Germany and Poland. Work, Employment and Society. Online First, August 2020

Trappmann, V., Seehaus, A., Mrozowicki, A., Krasowska, A. (Accepted: 2020) The Moral Boundary Drawing of Class: Social Inequality and Younger Precarious Workers in Poland and Germany. Sociology (In Press)

Mrozowicki, A./Czarzasty, J. (Hrsg.) (2020) Oswajanie niepewności. Studia społeczno-ekonomiczne nad młodymi pracownikami sprekaryzowanym (Tame uncertainty. Socio-economic studies on young workers with a high degree of precariousness.) Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar (420 s./pp.), chapters by: Magdalena Andrejczuk, Przemysław Błaszkiewicz, Jacek Burski, Jan Czarzasty, Aleksandra Drabina-Różewicz, Juliusz Gardawski, Mateusz Karolak, Agata Krasowska, Jule Marie-Lorenzen, Adam Mrozowicki, Denis Neumann, Alexandra Seehaus, Vera Trappmann)


Mrozowicki A./Trappmann V./Seehaus A./Kajta J. (2019) Who is a right-wing supporter? On the biographical experiences of young right-wing voters in Poland and Germany. Qualitative Sociology Review. 15(4), p. 212-235.


In, Against and Beyond Precarity: Work in Insecure Times. WES Special issue. Work, Employment and Society, 32 (3). pp. 447-457. ISSN 0950-0170 Edited by Alberti, G., Bessa, I., Hardy, K., Umney, C., Trappmann, V.

Trappmann V./Lorenzen J-M./Neumann D./Seehaus A. (2018) Rechtspopulismus und das junge Prekariat: potentielle AfD WählerInnen? (Right-wing populism and the young precariat: potential AfD voters?) In: Becker K.; Reif-Spirek P. (eds.) Arbeiterbewegung von rechts? Ungleichheit, Verteilungskämpfe, populistische Revolte. (Labour Movement from the Right? Inequality, distribution struggles, populist revolt). Campus, p. 138-156.

Trappmann V., Seehaus A. (2018) Die Mitte als klassenloser Ort? Wie Jugendliche moralisieren und Prekarisierung rechtfertigen (The middle as a classless place? How young people moralise and justify precarisation). In: Joller S; Stanisavljevic M (eds.) Moralische Kollektive. Jumper.

Czarzasty J./Trappmann, V./ Mrozowicki A./Andrejczuk, M. (2018) Prekaryjność po polsku i niemiecku: świadomość ekonomiczna i strategie ludzi młodych (economic awareness and strategies of young people) (ed.) Świat (bez) pracy: from Fordism to the fourth industrial revolution, Warsaw: Oficyna Wydawnicza SGH, p. 395-418.

Czarzasty, J./Gardawski, J./Mrozowicki, A./Trappmann, V. (2018) Young Precarious Workers in Poland and Germany, Global Dialogue 8(3): 45-46.


Young Precarious Workers in Poland and Germany. Insights into life strategies, political consciousness and activism.


Zerowe podatki i usługi publiczne na szwedzkim poziomie - tego chce duża część młodych Polaków. Dlaczego PiS wygrywa, a lewica przegrywa?” Gazeta Wyborcza, 10/02/2020

Agnieszka Maj: Naukowcy Porownali Sytuacje Mlodych Polakow i Niemcow. Wyniki Zaskakuja. Interia Fakty. 18/7/2020 


Trappmann, V: “Out of work and low on enthusiasm: young Germans are tuning out of politics”. The Conversation. 21/9/2017

Trappmann V. “The voice, loyalty and exit of precarious workers in Germany”. Leeds University Business School - Research & Innovation Blog

Seehaus, A. Book review of Oliver Nachtwey’s “The descent society. On Rebellion in the Regressive Modern Age”. CERIC Blog.


Precarity in Poland and Germany. (Coming soon)