The Deconstruction of Employment as a Political Question

'Employment' as a Floating Signifier

  • Amparo Serrano-Pascual
  • Maria Jepsen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Amparo Serrano-Pascual, Maria Jepsen
    Pages 1-29
  3. Rehabilitation of the ‘Labour World’ as a Locus for Action and Intervention

  4. Blurring of Boundaries Between Categories (Self-Employed Worker and Wage-Earner; Employment and Unemployment, Typical and Atypical Work, Formal and Informal Work)

  5. The Redefinition of Work and Unemployment Qua Reference Category

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 341-344

About this book


The wide-ranging European perspectives collected here aim to analyse, by means of an interdisciplinary approach, the numerous implications of a massive shift in the conception of “work” and the category of “worker.” Economic crisis and digitalization have exacerbated a crisis in those categories of thought and political action that previously allowed us to discuss—and problematize—vulnerability in employment in terms of unfairness, inequality, and inadequate protection. Engaging with the deconstruction of traditional employment as a central category for theorizing the phenomenon of work, this volume explores the new semantic fields and territories that have become available for theorising, understanding, and regulating employment. These new linguistic categories have implications beyond language alone: they produce a reformulation of the conventional wisdom concerning the whole category of waged employment (aspects previously taken for granted as to the meaning of work and of being “a worker”), as well as other closely associated categories such as unemployment, self-employment, or inactivity.


economic sociology sociology of work digital economy self-employment wage-earner meaning of work entrepreneurship politics of work

Editors and affiliations

  • Amparo Serrano-Pascual
    • 1
  • Maria Jepsen
    • 2
  1. 1.Complutense University of Madrid, TRANSOC Research InstituteMadridSpain
  2. 2.Free University of BrusselsEuropean Trade Union InstituteBrusselsBelgium

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-93616-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-93617-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site