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Navigating Precarity. Fragile Livelihoods, Meanings of Work, and Aspirational Expectations of Highly Educated Young Adults in Barcelona

Author Corinne SCHWALLER
Director of thesis Prof. Heinzpeter Znoj
Co-director of thesis Prof. Sharryn Kasmir
Summary of thesis

Over the past decade, recession, austerity politics, and labour reforms in Spain have accelerated and intensified the precarisation of employment and complicated the access to living wages, employment-based social security, and a ‘middle-class lifestyle’ for many people. My thesis explores the shifting forms and meanings of work in (post-)crisis Spain through the experiences and narratives of highly educated young adults in Barcelona who are in prolonged precarious employment situations. Besides their continuous struggles to make ends meet, my research participants were also challenged to find ways of adapting to, and moving within, a social environment where socially inculcated normative expectations of work and life were no longer (fully) accessible to them. In doing so, they negotiated old and new imaginaries of a good life and challenged the moral frameworks they had grown up with. My research contributes to an anthropology of labour that aims at understanding both the structural underpinnings of context-specific conditions of precarity, and the complex ways in which differently positioned social actors experience, make sense of, react, and contribute to the current transformations of work ‘after the century of labouring man’ (Li and Ferguson 2018).


Status finished
Administrative delay for the defence
URL https://www.anthro.unibe.ch/ueber_uns/personen/dr_des_schwaller_corinne/index_ge