Capitalism

Managing the Margins: Gender, Citizenship, and the International Regulation of Precarious Employment

Managing the Margins: Gender, Citizenship, and the International Regulation of Precarious Employment

Leah F. Vosko

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0199575096

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This book explores the precarious margins of contemporary labor markets. Over the last few decades, there has been much discussion of a shift from full-time permanent jobs to higher levels of part-time and temporary employment and self-employment. Despite such attention, regulatory approaches have not adapted accordingly. Instead, in the absence of genuine alternatives, old regulatory models are applied to new labour market realities, leaving the most precarious forms of employment intact. The book places this disjuncture in historical context and focuses on its implications for workers most likely to be at the margins, particularly women and migrants, using illustrations from Australia, the United States, and Canada, as well as member states of the European Union.

Managing the Margins provides a rigorous analysis of national and international regulatory approaches, drawing on original and extensive qualitative and quantitative material. It innovates by analyzing the historical and contemporary interplay of employment norms, gender relations, and citizenship boundaries.

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workers and outworkers in six named trades (Hutchins 1906; Howe 1995: 322). The boards were introduced by parliamentarians to ‘protect women and children “who cannot help themselves,” compared to men who are “able to organize and unite”’ (Rickard, quoted in Howe 1995: 321). Yet the 1896 legislation also applied to men in the named trades because of a successful Labor Party amendment. As Howe (1995) illustrates, these early forays into wage regulation cultivated a series of gendered ironies.

‘factory employment should not be attractive enough to entice married women away from the home’, expressed by a Royal Commission on Female and Juvenile Labour in Factories and Shops in the state of New South Wales (1911–12) (quoted in Howe 1995: 328). Although women in industries regulated by the wage boards did better than those in industries outside their purview, these women’s wage rates hovered around subsistence levels, defined in accordance with increasingly prevalent norms of female

hours), working week (approximately 40 hours), and working year (with statutory holidays and leave provisions) ¨ ckenberger 1989; Bosch (Supiot 2001: 63; Boulin 2006: 197; see also Mu 2004, 2006). Another result was the presumed segmentation of workers’ lives into three distinct sequences: education, market work, and retirement (Anxo et al. 2006a: 93). The ‘homogeneous’ (Supiot 2001: 63) conception of time characterizing the ‘market work’ sequence of the life-course assumed remuneration for all

20 00 20 98 19 96 19 94 19 92 19 90 19 88 19 86 19 84 19 82 19 80 19 19 78 100 90 80 70 60 % 50 40 30 20 10 0 men part-time Figure 4.1 Part-Time Employment and Full-Time Employment as a Percentage of Total Employment by Sex, Australia, 1978–2006 (see for example Cass 1994: 106–7). Australian women’s low level of participation in full-time employment, which declined between 1978 and 2006 at the virtually same rate as men’s, further underscores the legacy of these patterns (Figure

extend security to male breadwinners. The shift to weekly hire gave rise to the payment of a weekly wage, even in instances of public holidays, illness, or temporary lack of work, and the provision of notice of one week. At the same time, courts affirmed their support for norms of male breadwinning and female caregiving; accordingly, in the 1912 Fruit Pickers case, Justice Higgins suggested that women ‘should only be paid 54% of the basic wage’ because they ‘were not generally responsible to

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