Precarious objects

Activism and design in Italy

By Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3555-1
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: December 2020
  • BIC Category: Art History, HISTORY / Europe / Italy, ART / Criticism & Theory, ART / History / General, Italy, The arts / Theory of art, The arts / History of art / art & design styles, Society & social sciences / Material culture
  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture


Precarious objects explores the traffic between design and activism by telling stories drawn from contemporary counter-precarity cases in Italy. As a category of labour and of global social experience in general, precarity is a wicked problem that affects all aspects of life, regulating the production and circulation of a wide range of material and immaterial effects. In this book, three microhistories of counter-precarity explore existent forms of resistance and resilience to precarity. Drawing on ethnographies and archives and bringing together debates from design theory, cultural studies and geography, this study shows how design objects and practices recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life.


List of plates
Introduction: design, activism and precarity
1 MayDay! MayDay! Precarious objects and parades
2 Serpica Naro: precarity in the fashion system
3 Making otherwise: WeMake, a makerspace in Milan
Select bibliography


Ilaria Vanni, University of Technology Sydney, is Associate Professor of International Studies and Global Societies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

To purchase as an ebook, please visit your preferred ebook supplier

Amazon Apple Kobo

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout