Social exclusion and self-employment in European societies: An introduction
Over the past two decades, high levels of structural unemployment have plagued all major industrial societies. The member states of the European Union are particularly affected by this phenomenon. Under these circumstances, social exclusion has become the central issue in the debate on the future of modern societies. Exclusion has to be defined as multidimensional, affecting individuals or groups of people „not just in levels of income, but also in matters such as health, education, access to services, housing and debt“ (Tiemann 1993). Nevertheless, the conditions of exclusion considered by us concern particularly the exclusion from the labour market and from a regular income. The different statuses offered by the labour market constitute different grades of integration into the labour market and also different degrees of vulnerability to exclusion. The concept of a dual labour market has been formulated in order to distinguish between the type and character of labour undertaken by people in different parts of the economy (Piore 1979). According to the concept, the primary sector of the labour market comprises stable work relationships, jobs with high wages, stability, and good working conditions, as well as chances of career advancement, while the secondary sector means unstable work relationships, low wages, jobs with high insecurity and little chance of promotion. The workers in the secondary sector suffer consistent disadvantages, especially the risk of unemployment in times of crisis and production decline. In the US, it was further distinguished between those who are employed in any sector of the market and those who are sub-employed (Spector 1995).
KeywordsLabour Market Social Exclusion Career Advancement Work Relationship Production Decline
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