The Contested Constitution of Work – Spatial Scales ...· The Contested Constitution of Work –

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  • DepartmentofSociology

    TheContestedConstitutionofWorkSpatialScales,SocietalSpheresandModesofWorkCurrentResearchandNeglectedTerrains

    06/2017

    Editorialteam:MirjamPotCorneliaSchadlersoz.univie.ac.at/forschung/working-papers

  • TheContestedConstitutionofWorkSpatialScales,SocietalSpheresandMo-

    desofWork

    CurrentResearchandNeglectedTerrains

    JrgFlecker,SusannePernicka,TheresaFibich

    FlorianBrugger,VeraGlassner,BettinaHaidinger,RaimundHaindorfer,Ursula

    Holtgrewe, Stefanie Hrtgen, Klaus Kraemer, Torben Krings, Johanna

    Muckenhuber, SebastianNessel, Karin Sardadvar, Philip Schrpf, Ruth Simsa,

    RolandVerwiebe,JohannaWoydack

    Theauthorsarepartofauniversityandnon-universitysocialsciencesresearchteam (SOZNET), which aims at promoting Austrian research on work and em-ploymentthroughcooperationbetweenthepartnersandjointactivitiesintrain-ingandresearch.ThecontributingauthorsarefromtheUniversityofVienna,Jo-hannesKeplerUniversity Linz,Universityof Salzburg,ViennaUniversityof Eco-nomics and Business, University of Graz, the Working Life Research Centre(FORBA)andtheCentreforSocialInnovation(ZSI).

  • IfS Working Paper 6/2017

    Flecker,Pernicka,Fibichet.al.

    Abstract

    Todayspervasivetransformationsinworkandemploymentrelatetochangingformsof

    employment andwork organisation, to blurring boundaries between paid and unpaid

    andformalandinformalwork,andtotheshiftingofworkbetweendifferentspheresof

    society.Over thepastyears,anumberofeconomicandsocialprocesses,suchaseco-

    nomicliberalisation,financialisation,ordigitalisation,acceleratedthesetrends.Thisre-

    sultsinanincreasingopennessofhowworkandemploymentarebeingconstitutedwith

    regard to the societaldivisionof labourand the institutional formsandorganisational

    principlesofwork. Inthispaperwecalltorethinktheconventionalspatialand institu-

    tional containersandweargueforawidenedperspectiveonthecurrentdynamicsof

    labour thus contributing to furtherdeveloping the theoretical tools for theanalysisof

    workinglife.

    Zusammenfassung

    WeitreichendeVernderungenknnenderzeitbeiArbeitundBeschftigungbeobachtet

    werden:EsentstehenneueBeschftigungsformen,Grenzenzwischenbezahlterundun-

    bezahlterundzwischenformellerundinformellerArbeitverschwimmen,dieArbeitsor-

    ganisationverndertsichundeskommtzuVerschiebungenvonArbeitzwischenkapita-

    listischen Unternehmen, dem Staat, dem Privathaushalt und der Zivilgesellschaft. Im

    LaufedervergangenenJahrehabensichdieseEntwicklungenbeschleunigtundsiekn-

    nen zueinemwesentlichenTeil aufdenAusbauvon Liberalisierung, Transnationalisie-

    rungvonKapitalundArbeit,aufdieFinanzialisierung,aufvoranschreitendeDigitalisie-

    rungunddieDurchsetzungeinerDienstleistungsgesellschaftzurckgefhrtwerden.Eine

    Folgedavonist,dassdieGestaltungvonArbeitzunehmendoffenerwird,d.h.diegesell-

    schaftliche Arbeitsteilung, die organisatorischen Prinzipien von Arbeit, aber auch die

    herkmmlichen rumlichen und institutionellen Container wie etwa das Unterneh-

    men, der Privathaushalt, der Staat, das nationale Beschftigungssystem oder das Ar-

    beitsverhltniswerden inFragegestellt. IndiesemArtikelstellenwireineerweiterte

    SichtweiseaufaktuelleDynamikenderArbeitdar.

  • IfS Working Paper 6/2017

    Flecker,Pernicka,Fibichet.al.

    1. Introduction

    Currently,profoundchangescanbeobservedinworkandemployment.Theseshiftsre-

    latetochangingformsofemployment,totheblurringofboundariesbetweenpaidand

    unpaid,aswellasformalandinformalwork,tochangesinworkorganisationandtothe

    shiftingofworkbetweenthecapitalisteconomy,thestate,householdsandcivilsociety.

    Having accelerated over the past years, these developments can, to a substantial de-

    gree,betracedbacktoprocessesofeconomicliberalisation,thetransnationalisationof

    capitalandlabour,financialisation,digitalisationandthemovetowardsaserviceecon-

    omy. The financial and economic crisis of 2008ff. and the European and international

    crisispolicieshaveacceleratedtendenciesofde-regulationoflabourmarkets,particular-

    lyinSouthernandEasternEuropeancountries.

    Asaresult,theconstitutionofworkisincreasinglyopen,withregardtothesocietaldivi-

    sionof labour and the institutional forms andorganizational principles ofwork.Work

    researchcanno longer takeconventional spatialand institutional containers, suchas

    thecompany,thehousehold,thenationstate,thenationalemploymentsystemorthe

    employmentrelationshipforgranted(Wimmer&GlickSchiller,2002).Newtheoretical

    andanalyticalframesareneededtodescribeandexplaincurrentchangesinworkandto

    envisagepossiblefuturesofworkandemployment.

    Although research has analysed the consequences of the abovementioned shifts and

    dynamics,andalthoughnewtheoreticalapproacheshavebeenprovided inspecialised

    fields,themajorityofresearchonworkandemployment,theoreticallyandanalytically,

    still takes the conventional spatial and institutional containers for granted: labour is

    (implicitly)assumedtobeexpendedinaworkplacewhichisseparatedfromhomeand

    partofacompanyorapublic-sectororganisationlocatedwithinanationstatewhich,in

    turn, determines the institutions that regulate the employment relationship within

    which people work. This limited perspective increasingly tends to misframe (Fraser,

    2010)workandemployment.Companiesnolongertakethestandardemploymentrela-

    tionshipforgrantedbuttakeformsofemploymentasvariables.Workandemployment

    onthegroundareshapednotonlybynationalinstitutionsbutalsobytherulesprevail-

    ingintransnationalcompaniesorbythepositionoftheworkplaceintransnationalvalue

    chains.Thecurrentopennessanddynamicsoftheconstitutionofworkcallforanalyses

  • IfS Working Paper 6/2017

    Flecker,Pernicka,Fibichet.al.

    ofthewaysinwhichworkandemploymentarecurrentlyshapedanddefined,makingit

    necessarytoadoptanewconceptualizationofworkandtouseanalyticaltoolsthathelp

    tounderstandnewspatialandinstitutionaldynamics.

    Wearearguing forawidenedperspectiveon thecurrentdynamicsof labour.Theap-

    proachwearesuggestingthushastwodimensions:

    Firstly,weperceivetheconstitutionofworkincontemporarysocietiesascontestednot

    onlywithintherealmofwage labour, i.e. theregulationofemploymentandofthe la-

    bourprocess,butalsowithregardtotheassignmenttodifferentsocietalspheressuch

    asthemarket,thestate,civilsocietyorhouseholdsaswellastheshiftbetweendiffer-

    entmodesofworksuchaspaidandunpaid,professionalorvoluntary.

    Secondly,we question the spatial frames inwhichwork and employment are usually

    perceivedwhichmoreoftenthannotremainwithinwhatiscalledamethodologicalna-

    tionalism.

    In thispaper, thewideningof theperspectiveon the constitutionofworkandon the

    dynamicspatialframeshelpustohighlightgapsinresearchonworkandemployment.

    2. Thelevelsofanalysisofworkandemployment

    In line with these two perspectives on work and employment, i.e. the re-

    conceptualizationofworkandthesocio-spatialsensitivityofworkresearch,thiscontri-

    butionfirstsuggestsawiderconceptofworkwhichinparticulardoesnotonlyreferto

    gainful employment but to all activities having an economic impact or output or are

    doneundereconomicrestraint(Glucksmann,1995).Thisallowstotakeintoaccount,for

    example,theinterrelationshipsbetweengainfulemploymentandunpaidcarework,but

    alsomakesitpossibletoanalyseshiftsandinterdependenciesbetweenthedifferentso-

    cietal spheresand thedynamicsof thewidersocialorganisationofwork that includes

    thehousehold,theprivateandpublicsectors,marketandnon-marketrelationshipsand

    civilsocietyinstitutions.

    Analysesofthewaysinwhichworkandemploymentaresociallyandinstitutionallyem-

    beddedand contested thenneed to considermultiple spatial scales suchas the local,

  • IfS Working Paper 6/2017

    Flecker,Pernicka,Fibichet.al.

    regional, national, supranational and global. These spatial scales to use the more

    commonnotionderivedfromhumangeography(Brenner,2001;Hess,2004)areseen

    notasontologicallygivenbutasoutcomesofsocialconflicts.Theyarerelatedandinter-

    linked invariousways rather formingdistinctandhierarchical levelsofaction. Indeed,

    thecontestedconstitutionofworkoccurs throughthe linksbetweenthese levels,and

    exploring these links lets us take account of processes in which social relations are

    scaledupordown.

    Three analytical levels are relevant when investigating the contested constitution of

    workandemployment:(1)thesocialorganisationofworkandemployment,(2)thegov-

    ernanceandregulationofworkand(3) the labourprocess.Thereconceptualizationof

    workandthespatialperspectiveraisethefollowingquestionsoneachlevel:

    Ad (1) What are the changes and continuities in the social organisation of work and

    whatare their spatial implications?Thisquestiondealswith the interrelationshipsbe-

    tween different societal spheres as well as changes in their respective institutional

    logics.Institutionallogicsrelatetotherules,cognitivemaps,beliefsystemsandnorma-

    tiveexpectationscarriedandshapedbyparticipants insocietalspheresthatguideand

    givetheiractivitiesmeaning.

    Ad(2)Howdolocal,national,supra-nationalandglobalgovernancestructuresandregu-

    lations impact upon the constitution ofwork and employment?Howdo such govern-

    ancestructures interrelatewithsocietalspheresandtheir institutional logicsondiffer-

    ent spatial scales?Governancestructures refer toall agreementsbywhichpowerand

    authority are exercised, involving formal and informal systems, public and private re-

    gimesaswellasregulativeandnormativeregulationsandtheirenforcement.