Eloisa Betti

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2015/2016
discipline History
Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of History Culture Civilization, University of Bologna

Research project

Gender and Precarious Work in a Historical Perspective: the European Context


The research analyses precarious work as a historical and gendered phenomenon that has characterized the whole history of industrial capitalism including, albeit not limited to, the past thirty years. By adopting a gendered historical approach, precarious work cannot be viewed as a distinguishing feature of post-industrial society, as the alleged stability of Fordist reflects a male employment model, i.e. that of the so-called male breadwinner, not accounting for the multiple forms of work performed by women or migrants.

By examining the implications of a historical and gender analysis of precarious work for both the historical and social sciences, this research will retrace the roots of the job precariousness debate across European historiography and historicize the debate on precarious work that has developed over the past three decades in the European social sciences as well as in the Feminist thinking.

The research will not just represent a historical study in gender and labour history but will also be a contribution to an interdisciplinary academic debate embracing all the fields of the humanities and the social sciences. A gendered historical perspective will help to compare the spread of precarious work during different historical periods and will cast light over the changes and continuities across time and space, revealing recurring patterns of gender discrimination, work-life imbalances, and enduring forms of gendered precarity traps.

Furthermore, the research will contribute to the writing of a conceptual history of labour precarity, thanks to the analysis of the changes that have occurred in the scholarly debate on precarious work in the past few decades in connection with historical phenomena such as the end of Cold War and state socialism, globalization and the recent global economic crisis.




Eloisa Betti is Research Fellow at the Department of History Culture Civilization of the University of Bologna, where she earned her PhD in European History in 2011. In 2014-2015, she was Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London.  In addition to precarious work in a gender and historical perspectives, her main areas of specialization are labour history, gender and women's history, urban history in 20th century Italy and Europe with specific attention to the Cold War period.


Selected publications


'Gender and Precarious Labor in a Historical Perspective. Italian Women and Precarious Work Between Fordism and Post-Fordism', in S. Mosoetsa, C. Tilly, J. Stillermann (eds.), Precarious Labor in Global Perspective, Special Issue, International Labor and Working-Class History, (forthcoming) 2016.


'Bologna in the Cold War. Perspectives of memories from a Communist city in the West', in K. Pizzi & M. Hietala (eds.), Cold War Cities between History and Memory, Peter Lang, Oxford/Bern/Berlin/Brussels/Frankfurt/New York/Vienna, (forthcoming) 2016.


'Making working women visible in 1950s Italian labour conflict. The case of the Ducati factory', in K. H. Nordberg et al. (eds.), Myndighet Og Medborgerskap. Festskrift til Gro Hagemann pa 70–arsdagen 3.september 2015, Novus, Oslo, 2015, pp. 311-322.


‘La precarietà del lavoro come fenomeno storico: un approccio di genere. Prime riflessioni metodologico-storiografiche’, Memoria e ricerca, no. 46, 2014, pp. 151-171. [in Italian]


Senza giusta causa. Le donne licenziate per rappresaglia politico-sindacale a Bologna negli anni Cinquanta, with E. Giovannetti, Editrice Socialmente, Bologna, 2014. [in Italian]


‘Precarietà e fordismo. Le lavoratrici dell'industria bolognese tra anni Cinquanta e Sessanta’, in G. Zazzara (ed.), Tra luoghi e mestieri. Spazi e culture del lavoro nell'Italia del Novecento, Edizioni Ca' Foscari, Venice, 2013, pp. 17-45. [in Italian]


‘Women's Working Conditions and Job Precariousness in Historical Perspective. The Case of Italian Industry during the Economic Boom (1958-1963)’, in I. Agárdi, B. Waaldijk & C. Salvaterra (eds.), Making Sense, Crafting History: Practices of Producing Historical Meaning, Plus Pisa University Press, Pisa, 2010, pp. 175-205. [in English]


junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Philosophy
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Law
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline History