Constructing work and subjectivities in precarious conditions: Psycho-discursive practices in young people’s interviews in Greece
Precarity is becoming the paradigmatic description of young people’s work conditions in crisis-ridden Greece, but also in other European countries. Focusing on interview data on the work experiences of young adults (18-26 years old), in urban centres of Greece, this study attempts to explore the ways in which informants account for working in precarious conditions and construct agency and subjectivity within these ways of accounting. The analysis drawing on insights from critical discursive social psychology indicates that participants construct precarious work conditions as widespread and banal a) by treating precarious work as a sine qua non condition of youth employment, b) by considering precarious work as an inherent trait of the Greek job-market, c) by considering precarious work as a necessary step on a (biographical) path leading to the desired and/or appropriate job, or d) by adopting a “there is no other alternative” accounting, representing precarious job conditions as the only alternative to unemployment. The analysis also points out the ways in which participants orient themselves to a dilemma of stake and accountability, being concerned to position themselves as effortful subjects, while they are rhetorically constructing the banal regime of precarious labour. The discussion considers the need to bring into the scope of social and political psychology the specific nuances of precarious labour.
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