Research Highlight – Didier Demazière

Every so often we would like to highlight recent research / publications which are relevant to HECAT’s focus on (un)employment and algorithms.

Today we are highlighting a piece by Didier Demazière, an accomplished Industrial Sociologist working out of the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies (often referred to as Sciences Po).

Didier’s research predominately concerns unemployment and how new identities are forged and reified through the experience of being unemployed. His previous work has incisively outlined how employment creates and structures our perceptions of time, and the damaging effect that unemployment can have on our well-being.

Didier’s latest work has been published in the journal Critical Policy Studies, entitled: Job search success among the formerly-unemployed: paradoxically, a matter for self-discipline. The article explores how dialogues of self-help encourage the unemployed to construct seeking a job as their full-time occupation – thus creating structure in an otherwise de-structured experience through discipline. The full piece is available here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19460171.2020.1746372

Abstract: When activation is an essential cog in public policies, looking for a job is top priority for the jobless, and becomes their professional occupation. Job search experience is studied here in the light of the institutional norms and prescriptions that frame it. Our fieldwork has focused on the supposed correspondence between these two, since our interviewees were formerly-unemployed people who have managed to land relatively long-term positions. Three results were identified: first, their experiences espouse a self-help model; second, in spite of compliance with this model, the search is jeopardized by its uncertain outcome, and third, an alternative model has emerged, characterized by job search limitations in the emotional, temporal and behavioral registers. These adjustments deviate from institutional standards yet are nonetheless the result of thoughtful and personal management, i.e. of applying a principle of self-discipline that is paradoxically in line with the institutional model of job search.

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