Lost in Transitions? Biographical Experiences and Life Strategies of Young Precarious Workers in Poland
Kultura i Spoleczenstwo
This article discusses conditions, properties and consequences of life strategies of young people in Poland in the context of the rise of precarious, low paid and uncertain employment. The analysis is developed against the background of the debates about three transitions, to adulthood, flexible and precarious labour market and changing political-economic regime. Based on the tentative analysis of 45 biographical narrative interviews with young people, aged 18–30, in various forms of temporary,
... forms of temporary, low-paid jobs, and unemployed, a typology of coping with the three transitions is proposed, including four types: proletarian, postetatist, projectarian and entrepreneurial. The typology reflects the logics of stories' told by young people, the desired relationships between the world of work and world outside work, as well as the relevance of resources and reflexivity for the transitions among the types of life strategies in coping with precarity. The authors conclude that the "normalization of precarity," manifested into the emergence of institutional action schemes which define insecure employment as an expected pattern of occupational careers, encounters its biographical limits within each types. It is suggested that these "gaps and cracks" in the institutionalization of insecurity might represent important sources of young people collective mobilization in various spheres of political and social life despite an overarching individualization of their life strategies.