We must be precarious; the system demands it: hidden injuries and subjectivities of precarious work

Dahill, D. ORCID: 0000-0003-0810-005X, 2022. We must be precarious; the system demands it: hidden injuries and subjectivities of precarious work. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis draws from the lived experience of precarious work, to present and explore the journey of precarity and all its nuances. Contextually, this study comes at a significant period in the UK, a time of extreme economic uncertainty (for most), where many of the issues associated with precarious work, have been intensified and perhaps highlighted more than ever before, certainly more so than previous decades. During the lifespan of this research, the world has been in the grips of an ongoing pandemic, with notable impacts on health and wellbeing. In the UK, the economic aftershock of COVID-19 has combined with the self-inflicted fiscal destabilisation and 'bonfire of rights' accompanying the chaos of Brexit (Walker, 2022). This comes at a time when many have already struggled to make ends meet, following over a decade of ideology driven cuts to living and working standards (Meadway, 2022). From, stagnant wages, rising living costs, and relentless attacks on education, health and welfare, the UK is now in a position in which there is 'nothing left to cut' (Davies, 2022). Yet the solution proposed by the regime of the day, has been to the meet the many crises from decades of Thatcherite neoliberalism, with more of the same. We are left with an environment of fear, uncertainty, disbelief, and a potential powder keg of mass strike action and civil unrest (Yorke et al., 2022). Among those most exposed and most vulnerable to the impacts of such an environment, are precarious workers.

The research draws on autoethnographic research - seeking, applying for, and carrying out assignments as a temp (temporary agency worker) in the East midlands, UK. This is combined with 15 in-depth interviews with precarious workers of multiple backgrounds, across different regions of the UK. One of the key contributions to the literature which this thesis has provided, is in capturing and shedding much needed light on the nuances of the precarious worker experience. It presents a living tapestry of the experience of precarity, with the aim of making visible what is currently occluded by divisions within current theory. Furthermore, it provides new insights into the 'ambitions, desires, and strategies of precarious workers' (Arnold & Bongiovi, 2012, p304), along with considerations for the highly neglected area of the work of getting work. It is hoped that, by doing so, it can help answer longstanding calls to better understand "the nature of the new employment relations that are being created and their implications for individual and societal well-being" (Kalleberg & Vallas, 2018, p.22). More specifically, it shall shed light on the 'individual sense-making, motivations, expectations and relationship-building' of precarious workers, as an increasingly broad demographic (Manolchev et al., 2018).

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Dahill, D.
Brown, S.Thesis supervisorSMI3BROWNSorcid.org/0000-0001-7841-3225
Petschick, S.Thesis supervisorSOC3PETSCSorcid.org/0000-0003-2462-3221
Gee, R.Thesis supervisorGYS3GEERorcid.org/0000-0002-0783-2614
Date: September 2022
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 21 Nov 2023 10:57
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2023 11:03
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/50412

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