The Liminal Worker An Ethnography of Work, Unemployment and Precariousness in Contemporary Greece
The Liminal Worker examines the experience of work, employment, employment insecurity and precariousness in a context of high unemployment and welfare state crisis in modern Greece. A theoretically-informed, anthropological exploration of the notion of work in contemporary western society and its relation to processes of political decision making, this book challenges the mainstream conception of work as an economic or purely productive activity, presenting a comparative analysis of work as a social phenomenon. Drawing on original empirical research, it explores the key themes of the transformation, experience, meaning and narrative of work and its relation to attendant social policies. A unique examination of the complicated experience of work and labour relations within power systems, institutions and organisations, as well as the reactions and survival strategies of ordinary actors facing precariousness in their daily existence, The Liminal Worker elaborates upon the notion of the anthropology of work and investigates the connection between ethnographic data (and its critical analysis) and the formation of policy. As such, it will be of interest to anthropologists, sociologists, policy makers and geographers concerned with questions of work, labour relations and policy formation.
'Manos Spyridakis’s ethnography unravels the perplexities of globalisation as Greek workers in banking, shipbuilding and tobacco industries struggle to make their livings in the unknowable spaces between steady work and under-, partial-, informal and unemployment. It is a must for anyone interested in economics, globalisation, politics or people in today’s world and required reading for courses on globalisation.’ Paul Durrenberger. Emeritus, Universities of Iowa and Penn State, USA ’The Liminal Worker shows how governments embracing market ideology are blinded to the lives of their citizens. Using extensive field research, it shows how making labour flexible makes people’s lives fragile, upending their plans, their families and their sense of who they thought they were: conscientious and industrious people seeking to lead decent lives.’ James Carrier, Oxford Brookes University, UK '... Spyridakis’ well-informed ethnography presents a valuable anthropological critique of mainstream economic studies with their emphasis on rationality and free choice.' Social Cohesion and Development 'Interested readers, especially from anthropology, European history, and labour studies, will find an important and compelling ethnography that uncovers the realities of living proximate to, but marginalised from, work stability. Read either as an ethnographic monograph or vis-Ã -vis extracted chapters, Spyridakis’ comprehensive research will contribute greatly to undergraduate and graduate students’ curricula and scholarly knowledge on work and its erosion under neoliberal capitalism.' Anthropological Forum 'This research monograph draws on a very rich empirical analysis and provides a multi-faceted picture of the lives of the subjects under investigation. The work provides ample and detailed anthropological narratives on the adversities that the subjects face and the experience of liminality, insecurity and alienation that they are subjected to.