Precarious work, entrepreneurial mindset and sense of place: female strategies in insecure labour markets

Hanna-Mari Ikonen
2013 Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought  
This article participates in the discussion on the uncertainty of working life by providing a viewpoint of one individual's experience of it. The article argues that entrepreneurship and employment are forms of income that are not separate from each other; instead, in precarious labour markets, individuals can alternate between the two. An entrepreneurial mindset and practices are required from the self-employed and employees alike, but neither form of livelihood ensures a permanent income.
more » ... rmanent income. Though in different ways, the process of precariatisation touches many groups of people, and the varying alternatives for navigating this situation are deconstructed here. The analysis discusses how surviving precarious labour markets and uncertain income requires a lot of endurance and self-governance as illustrated by an in-depth interview with a woman who lives in a remote area. The analysis also proves that the opportunity to remain in a place of residence and establish a sense of belonging has a significant impact on an individual's ability to experience everyday pleasure and permanence, especially when everything else around them is changing in ways over which they have little control. Keywords: entrepreneurship; precarious work; sense of place; rural areas; gender an important way of tolerating uncertainty. Therefore, this article explores the question of 'placeness.' Based on previous studies, it is evident that a sense of place influences the choices people make; a place is a limitation but it also provides resources, emotional or other (Eyles ). However, the emotionally laden meaning of place has not been significantly addressed in studies on employment and precarity. Actually, placeness and settling down have been seen as opposite conditions to an ideal figure of the current spirit of capitalism (Boltanski and Chiapello 2007) . In addition to the concept of a sense of place, I work with the concept of an entrepreneurial mindset, which, in turn, is deduced from critical discussions on working life research that highlights individuality, potentiality, agility, flexibility and readiness to steer employment more than industriousness, loyalty and formal qualifications (Adkins ). Neo-liberal time takes various forms. For example, Will Atkinson (2010) points out that even though de-standardization of careers and several job shifts really have taken place, they are remarkably driven along class tracks. In Atkinson's study on worker reflexivity, those who were 'dominant,' i.e., had economic and cultural capital, were more capable of perceiving their changed work trajectories as an opportunity to downshift for a while, start something totally new or concentrate on something they had always wanted to do. Even the 'dominated' told about negotiating and taking active decisionssince they were familiar with the reflexivity discoursebut social mobility was scarce as the class-related material pressures hindered their options (Ibid.).
doi:10.1080/23269995.2013.864085 fatcat:c4vksevc3nb43ll22beds22d5m