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Stuck in the door? A study of temporary agency work as an entry point to the labor market

Uddbäck, Hanna LU (2012) SIMV21 20121
Graduate School
Abstract (Swedish)
This thesis is a critical examination of the notion of an entry point to the labor market through a temporary work agency. By exploring the experience, content and consequences of temporary agency work I have investigated how power relations within the contemporary work life are articulated. Temporary agency work is portrayed as a labor market entry point for groups in risk of exclusion, such as immigrants and youths, but this portrayal leaves out the experience and result of the inclusion. The empirical material is based on interviews with managers and temporary agency workers within the temp industry. By applying Joan Acker’s theory of inequality regimes, I discuss how the organizing practices and processes in temporary work agencies can... (More)
This thesis is a critical examination of the notion of an entry point to the labor market through a temporary work agency. By exploring the experience, content and consequences of temporary agency work I have investigated how power relations within the contemporary work life are articulated. Temporary agency work is portrayed as a labor market entry point for groups in risk of exclusion, such as immigrants and youths, but this portrayal leaves out the experience and result of the inclusion. The empirical material is based on interviews with managers and temporary agency workers within the temp industry. By applying Joan Acker’s theory of inequality regimes, I discuss how the organizing practices and processes in temporary work agencies can be seen as reproducers of gendered, racialized and class-based inequalities. I argue that the notion of an entry point is formulated and given meaning to as an unavoidable response to labor market changes, notions of modernity and assumed characteristics of new generations, all of which hide power relations and ideological implications. By focusing on the experience of agency work I have identified how agency work is organized on an assumption of temporality which influences the kind of tasks the temps perform, their identification as workers and their job security. Temporary agency work contributes to the individualization of workers which tend to disguise inequalities since individualized workers blame themselves for work-related failures. Finally, I argue that the notion of an entry point through temporary agency work is only valid if one accepts a polarization of workers based upon social divisions such as class, ethnicity/”race” and gender. (Less)
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author
Uddbäck, Hanna LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMV21 20121
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
entry point, labor market, temporary work agency, inequality regime
language
English
id
2740346
date added to LUP
2012-06-11 09:35:00
date last changed
2012-06-11 09:35:00
@misc{2740346,
  abstract     = {This thesis is a critical examination of the notion of an entry point to the labor market through a temporary work agency. By exploring the experience, content and consequences of temporary agency work I have investigated how power relations within the contemporary work life are articulated. Temporary agency work is portrayed as a labor market entry point for groups in risk of exclusion, such as immigrants and youths, but this portrayal leaves out the experience and result of the inclusion. The empirical material is based on interviews with managers and temporary agency workers within the temp industry. By applying Joan Acker’s theory of inequality regimes, I discuss how the organizing practices and processes in temporary work agencies can be seen as reproducers of gendered, racialized and class-based inequalities. I argue that the notion of an entry point is formulated and given meaning to as an unavoidable response to labor market changes, notions of modernity and assumed characteristics of new generations, all of which hide power relations and ideological implications. By focusing on the experience of agency work I have identified how agency work is organized on an assumption of temporality which influences the kind of tasks the temps perform, their identification as workers and their job security. Temporary agency work contributes to the individualization of workers which tend to disguise inequalities since individualized workers blame themselves for work-related failures. Finally, I argue that the notion of an entry point through temporary agency work is only valid if one accepts a polarization of workers based upon social divisions such as class, ethnicity/”race” and gender.},
  author       = {Uddbäck, Hanna},
  keyword      = {entry point,labor market,temporary work agency,inequality regime},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Stuck in the door? A study of temporary agency work as an entry point to the labor market},
  year         = {2012},
}