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    The embedding of precarious employment in Ireland: stories of workers from the South-East

    Moran, Joe (2016) The embedding of precarious employment in Ireland: stories of workers from the South-East. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Real-life narratives of the precarious employment of 13 low-paid and insecure workers located in the South-East region of Ireland form the basis of this thesis. This study examines the relationship between EU and Irish policies of social inclusion and their application to workers in precarious employment. The stories of the workers challenge the integrationist claims these policies that work is the best route out of poverty, as the narratives of the participants point to lives of strenuous effort to make ends meet when that work is poorly paid, of poor quality and insecure. The participants’ stories also challenge the exclusionary claims of social exclusion; the workers are economically marginalised but not excluded from society’s norms and aspirations. This collective case of the 13 workers in the South-East of Ireland leads me to conclude that there are a variety of responses by workers to their experience of precarious employment which are not fully represented in the scholarly literature. The question “why do these workers continue to work in circumstances of precarious employment and low incomes?” emerges as a key concern within the thesis. The thesis argues that the explanation for their continued engagement with work is the inter-relationship of two closely connected ideas: a worker identity and the concept of a master narrative of work. The participants in this study identify with and show a strong moral commitment to work within a universal master narrative based on the belief that paid work is inherently good, irrespective of the nature of that work and the level of reward achieved. The thesis concludes that the social inclusion model of worker activation being pursued by the Irish state will lead to the embedded precariousness of employment for workers who are committed to the idea of work but who will remain marginal and yet essential to the workforce.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: precarious employment; Ireland; stories of workers; South-East;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 10398
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2019 14:50
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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