Unemployed by choice: young creative people and the balancing of responsibilities through strategic self-management

Bidragets oversatte titel: Selvvalgt arbejdsløs: Unge kreative og balancering af ansvarligheder gennem strategisk selvforvaltning

Sabina Pultz*, Sven Mørch

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The Danish welfare system inadvertently provides a good opportunity for young creative people to pursue their dreams in creative fields such as art, acting, music while being on unemployment benefits. As Michael, one of the participants, puts it: ‘I consider unemployment benefit entrepreneurial support’. The subversive practice is illegal. This qualitative study investigates how young unemployed people who choose to be unemployed in order to engage in innovative projects in creative fields understand and justify their practice. Analysis of in-depth interviews with six young unemployed persons shows how the understanding and management of responsibility is pivotal in the self-understanding and legitimization of receiving unemployment benefits by choice, not out of need. This creative group reflects the contours of a new type of unemployed that has received very little attention in the research literature. The group challenges the traditional representation of the unemployed and portrays themselves as innovative, competent and able to cope with financial insecurity even though it is psychologically distressing and a risky path to go down. We characterize them as strategic self-managing as they use educational systems and unemployment benefit systems for something entirely different from what they are intended – they use it to create their own artistic life courses. This study tentatively points to a categorization distinguishing between personal, social and societal responsibility by which we can improve our understanding of responsibility in neoliberal contexts.
Bidragets oversatte titelSelvvalgt arbejdsløs: Unge kreative og balancering af ansvarligheder gennem strategisk selvforvaltning
TidsskriftJournal of Youth Studies
Udgave nummer10
Sider (fra-til)1382-1401
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2015
Udgivet eksterntJa

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