Journal article

The Productivity of Unemployment and the Temporality of Employment-to-Come: Older Disadvantaged Job Seekers

Jessica Gerrard, Juliet Watson

SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ONLINE | SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD | Published : 2021

Abstract

This article demonstrates how unemployment is made productive through workfare activities for older disadvantaged job seekers. We suggest that the requirement to look for work, engage in education and training, and participate in voluntary work blurs the boundaries between employment and unemployment. Drawing on in-depth qualitative research with older disadvantaged job seekers, we demonstrate how this obligatory productivity is lived and felt, characterised by shame and frustration and framed by the temporality of waiting and searching for work. We suggest that this experience of ‘productive’ unemployment can be described as a dissonant state of ‘transitional stasis’, whereby job seekers ar..

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