Designing Economic Cultures is a research project that sets out to investigate the relationship between socio-economic precarity and the production of socially and politically engaged design projects.

The fundamental question the project poses is:
how can designers, who through their work want to question and challenge the prevalent economic system, gain a satisfying degree of social and economic security without having to submit themselves to the commercial pressures of the market?  Read more ›

Construction site for non-affirmative practice

Constructive Dismantling

My Castle Is Your Castle

San Precario, an introduction

San Precario is the patron saint of the precarious. San Precario is irreverent, mocking and offensive. San Precario is a creation of the precarious intelligence, a free and independent expression that does not refer to any party or union.

San Precario is the patron of who is underpaid, who suffers the pains of a intermittent income and who is oppressed by an uncertain future that is common to us all: sales clerk and programmer, factory worker and researcher.

San Precario appeared for the first time on February 29th, 2004 in an Ipercoop supermarket in Milan, but his consecration takes place every year during Mayday, the European manifestation of the precarious 1st May that since ten years unites the precarious of Europe in the streets. Since, he has been used and sanctified by tens of groups of workers, has created a network, has taken the squares all over Italy, has protected his followers and made their exploiters tremble.

During this evening we got introduced to the life and actions of San Precario.


– around 2000 in Italy there was a lot of talk about flexible contracts for workers;
– flexible contracts were introduced arguing that these flexible workers would have become stable at a later point;
– companies took advantage of these contracts as they allow them to pay less for labour-power;
– in 2011 we see the whole range of Italian labourers becoming precarious through new legislations;
– since 2010, the workers at the Fiat factory of Marchionne are having flexible contracts;
– everything is rendered precarious: housing, transport, health care and so on;
– the model of this society is in a crisis;
– in 2001, the first MayDay Parade is being organised with the slogan ‘there is nothing to lose, but everything to invent’;
– being precarious is often portrayed as being unlucky, whereas it is in fact a systemic problem;
– San Precario is planning and carrying out actions to help precarious labourers;
– since 2008, MayDay is including questions about the precarity of migrants;
– the group works towards the establishing of a living-wage;
– in Italy the young precarious generation is relying on the stability of their parents;
– San Precario don’t want to propose preconfigured ideas, but to give critical input to discussions;

The first appearance of San Precario
www.precaria.org – the website of San Precario
Kit San Precario – with English texts
Audiofile of the 95 theses on precarity by San Precario (in Italian)

Manifesto dei lavoratori della conoscenza (doc)
95 tesi sulla precarietà

We would like to thank Caterina Giuliani and Giovanna Zanghellini for organising this encounter, and the people of San Precario for sharing their experiences with us.