INEG - Métamorphoses de sociétés. Inégalité, inégalités

Evolving Employment Norms and Emerging Forms of Inequality Towards a Comparison of Gray Zones – ZOGRIS

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Submission summary

This comparative study explores emerging configurations of work seen through the prism of employment relations and their evolving borders. Has the fuzzy, fluctuating, transformative, elusive nature of the latter become the dominant trait of employment norms and of work regulations in today’s labor market? What are the consequences of the gray zones of workers rights and protections in which work relations and interactions take place as they recompose? The explosion of the Post-War norm, constructed around the figure of the salaried, full-time worker, undermined society’s central mechanisms for egalitarian redistribution. It has produced inequalities whose characteristics call for deep-going comparative analysis between national labor markets. Institutional categories which were presumed to be stabilized – employment, subordination, national labor markets – are brought into question, as is their efficiency as accurate tools of measuring employment relation phenomena.

Comparative analyses based upon ground research by members of the project give us perspective into a multiplicity of situations; they highlight contrasts and similarities. The South-North comparison, between the Americas and France, in particular, are meant to elucidate the common characteristics of heterogeneous formations characterizing salaried employment, as well as new traits of work, including those situated on the other side of the “salaried employment” border. The boundaries are two-fold: there are within firms (subordination) as well as turned-outward or outside (markets, public policies, individual life courses). The overall context is that of a globalizing labor and employment market engaged in an unequal process which witnesses homogenizing, but predominantly differentiating trends. These dynamics include temporal and spatial dimensions.

Our initial methodological aim is to set out a panorama of emerging work forms and the relations they engender. The subsequent grey zones result from the collective and individual interactions occurring among numerous actors, both old and new, at a variety of levels. This space of interactions encompasses work situations and figures which are conspicuously distinct from reductionist institutional and paradigmatic dichotomies – employer v employee, employee v unemployed.

Once existing categories are revisited, workshops will be structured in order to deepen analysis around essential transversal themes (ateliers thématiques transversaux – ATT). They are interdisciplinary and comparative, specifically conceived to shed light upon emerging employment norms. They facilitate comparisons among 21st century labor-market representations and in this way are usefully elements of information for public policy schemes as they attempt to target purported beneficiaries. This will also help to better apprehend how emerging employment norms are sources of creating inequalities or, to the contrary, result in innovations or the creation of new social benefits, accessible to wide sectors of the population, for instance, those which are market-based. Our hypotheses are part of sociological and political debates underway concerning the nature of inequality, growing phenomenon of contemporary societies from North to South. By exploring the “grey zones” we hope to contribute to the construction/deconstruction of social categories founded upon the salaried employment relationship.

Project coordinator

Madame Donna KESSELMAN (UNIVERSITE PARIS-EST CRETEIL VAL DE MARNE) – dkessel11@gmail.com

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

IMAGER UNIVERSITE PARIS-EST CRETEIL VAL DE MARNE
IRISSO CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR PARIS A
LISE CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR PARIS A

Help of the ANR 180,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: November 2011 - 36 Months

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