Post-Fordism describes a situation in which precarity and un/underemployment becomes normalised while the requirement for young people to seek subjectivity through work is intensified. In this context, this article draws on interviews with youth living in regions of high youth unemployment to examine how young people create identities as workers. The article shows that young people approach the cultivation of a working self in terms of how the capacity for productive labour contributes to projects of ‘self-realisation’. Classed subjectivities are formed through the different ethics through which young people approach the formation of the self as a worker. This demonstrates how the disciplinary requirements of work contribute to the contemporary experience of class among youth. The article concludes by suggesting that generational shifts in the experience of youth currently associated with employment insecurity can be usefully understood in terms of the dynamics of post-Fordist labouring subjectivities.
SOURCE: David Farrugia. “How youth become workers: Identity, inequality and the post-Fordist self.” Journal of Sociology, July 27, 2019.
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