Governing homo economicus

risk management among young unemployed people in the Danish welfare state

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this article, I examine how young unemployed people deal with the risk of unemployment in the Danish welfare state, focusing on two main issues. I examine the technologies currently being used in the unemployment system to manage youth unemployment and I explore how the young unemployed people who are the subject of these technologies understand and react to them. I also consider the affective work, which underpins these technologies and the ways this shapes the framing of risks. In this article, I draw on a Danish research study (2014–2015) that examined the ways in which the Danish unemployment fund operated and I used in-depth interviews to explore the ways in which 33 young unemployed Danes interacted with the unemployment fund. Using the conceptual tools provided by the governmentality risk perspective, I analysed the relationship between institutionalised risk management and individual risk management. I found that the management of risk at the institutional level invoked the use of a screening tool that categorised young unemployed people into risk groups and this categorisation determined the intervention the young unemployed persons received. I found that in the new unemployment system, young unemployed people were treated not only as homo economicus, that is, rational actors responding to economic incentives but they were also seen as sensitive beings whose feelings and affects could be shaped by technologies empowering and motivating them in order to enable them to manage their own risk of unemployment more effectively. This psychologised the issue of unemployment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth, Risk & Society
Volume18
Issue number3/4
Pages (from-to)168
Number of pages187
ISSN1369-8575
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this

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title = "Governing homo economicus: risk management among young unemployed people in the Danish welfare state",
abstract = "In this article, I examine how young unemployed people deal with the risk of unemployment in the Danish welfare state, focusing on two main issues. I examine the technologies currently being used in the unemployment system to manage youth unemployment and I explore how the young unemployed people who are the subject of these technologies understand and react to them. I also consider the affective work, which underpins these technologies and the ways this shapes the framing of risks. In this article, I draw on a Danish research study (2014–2015) that examined the ways in which the Danish unemployment fund operated and I used in-depth interviews to explore the ways in which 33 young unemployed Danes interacted with the unemployment fund. Using the conceptual tools provided by the governmentality risk perspective, I analysed the relationship between institutionalised risk management and individual risk management. I found that the management of risk at the institutional level invoked the use of a screening tool that categorised young unemployed people into risk groups and this categorisation determined the intervention the young unemployed persons received. I found that in the new unemployment system, young unemployed people were treated not only as homo economicus, that is, rational actors responding to economic incentives but they were also seen as sensitive beings whose feelings and affects could be shaped by technologies empowering and motivating them in order to enable them to manage their own risk of unemployment more effectively. This psychologised the issue of unemployment.",
author = "Sabina Pultz",
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language = "English",
volume = "18",
pages = "168",
journal = "Health, Risk & Society",
issn = "1369-8575",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis Online",
number = "3/4",

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Governing homo economicus : risk management among young unemployed people in the Danish welfare state. / Pultz, Sabina.

In: Health, Risk & Society , Vol. 18, No. 3/4, 2016, p. 168.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - In this article, I examine how young unemployed people deal with the risk of unemployment in the Danish welfare state, focusing on two main issues. I examine the technologies currently being used in the unemployment system to manage youth unemployment and I explore how the young unemployed people who are the subject of these technologies understand and react to them. I also consider the affective work, which underpins these technologies and the ways this shapes the framing of risks. In this article, I draw on a Danish research study (2014–2015) that examined the ways in which the Danish unemployment fund operated and I used in-depth interviews to explore the ways in which 33 young unemployed Danes interacted with the unemployment fund. Using the conceptual tools provided by the governmentality risk perspective, I analysed the relationship between institutionalised risk management and individual risk management. I found that the management of risk at the institutional level invoked the use of a screening tool that categorised young unemployed people into risk groups and this categorisation determined the intervention the young unemployed persons received. I found that in the new unemployment system, young unemployed people were treated not only as homo economicus, that is, rational actors responding to economic incentives but they were also seen as sensitive beings whose feelings and affects could be shaped by technologies empowering and motivating them in order to enable them to manage their own risk of unemployment more effectively. This psychologised the issue of unemployment.

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