Young people face the risk of unemployment in a labor market characterized by a drift towards precarious employment (Kalleberg, 2013). Building on poststructuralist theory this study documents how young unemployed people’s understanding of unemployment is affected by neoliberal discourses, also reflected in the technologies applied by the institutions in the employment area. As a result, responsibility for unemployment is increasingly placed on the individual and self-blame is promoted as the predominant explanation. This qualitative study consists of a combination of field observations made at the unemployment center and unemployment insurance funds in Denmark and in-depth interviews with ten young unemployed Danes selected out of a pool of 30 for the purpose of this study. It investigates the discourses and technologies applied by the unemployment institutions and explores how the young unemployed people experience their situation and position themselves in regards to this normative encouragement to blame themselves. Personal branding and networking are identified as strategies enforced by the employment system and can be viewed as technologies of the self encouraging young people to commodify and modulate themselves in line with post- Fordist norms. The study discusses the implications of such pressures and explores the possibilities for resisting these contemporary demands of malleability and characterizes a response pattern ranging from a pure internalization of the norms to resistance.
|Status||Udgivet - 2015|