In recent years, the concept of flexicurity has come to occupy a central place in political and academic debates regarding employment and social policy. It fosters a view in which the need for continuously increasing flexibility is the basic assumption, and the understanding of security increasingly moves from social protection to self-insurance or individual adaptability. Moreover, it rejects the traditional contradictions between flexibility and security, blending the two into a single notion and thus depoliticizing the relationships between capital and labour. This volume provides a critical discussion of the flexicurity concept, the theories upon which it is built and the ideas that it transmits about work, unemployment and social justice. It shows that flexicurity fosters the further individualization of social protection, an increase in precariousness and the further weakening of labour in relation to capital. The authors present a series of alternative theoretical, normative and policy approaches that provide due attention to the collective and political dimension of vulnerability and allow for the development of new societal projects based on alternative values and assumptions.
"The book offers an inspiring contribution to the question of the semantic shift in ideas on employment and social policy in the European public, political and academic debate, incorporating power relations and dialectical processes into social analysis. […] the book is a very welcome contribution to the scholarly literature exploring the complex construction of ideas, the power of concepts and the ‘struggle of meanings’, while also representing an important contribution to the wider fields of sociology, social policy and EU studies, as it introduces an empirically informed analysis into the theoretical debate about the transformations now affecting the social and economic dimensions of Europe."
Reviewed by Luigi Burroni (University of Florence) and Gemma Scalise (University of Florence), Transfer: European Review of Labour Research, 2016, Vol. 22(2) 257–260
1. The Power to Name and Struggles over Meaning: The Concept of Flexicurity Maarten Keune and Amparo Serrano 2. Class Relations and Labour Market Reforms Colin Crouch 3. From Flexicurity to Social Employment RegimesCarlos Prieto 4. Inequality as a Central Component in the Redefinition of Security: The Case of Gender Maria Jepsen 5. Beyond Flexibility: Active Securities for Flexible Employment Relationship Günther Schmid 6. Labour, Capabilities and Situated Democracy Robert Salais 7. From Flexicurity to Capabilities: In Search of Professional Development Bénédicte Zimmerman 8. Life-First Welfare, and the Scope for a "Eudemonic Ethic" of Social Security Hartley Dean 9. Quality of Employment: An Alternative to Flexicurity? Dominique Méda