The last economic crisis has brought to the forefront the topic of unemployment as a 'social problem'. Unemployment, however, does not constitute an area of research on its own right in anthropology. This panel tries to show the new work that anthropologists are carrying out since 2008-9.
Since the onset of the last economic crisis (2008-2009), a high rate of unemployment in the EU countries has become a key issue for governments, social organisations, ordinary people and the social sciences. Unemployment does not constitute an area of research on its own right in anthropology (Lowe 1990; Jancious 2006). In social science, in general, there is a lack of studies on the collective responses of civil society to unemployment as well as the experience of being unemployed (Perelman 2007; Guigni 2009) Anthropologists, however, have been writing about unemployment since the crisis of the 70s: the 'deserving' and the 'undeserving' unemployed (Howe 1990); ideologies of the unemployed (Pappas 1989); the social and historical construction of work cultures (Perelman 2007); narratives of survival (Procoli 2004); unemployment and precarity as liminal conditions (Spyridakis 2013). This panel is looking for papers showing the research agendas of anthropologists currently working on the topic of unemployment, in EU countries but also outside them. This panel tries to address a broad range of issues, although it is not reduced to them: The ongoing dismantling of the social welfare system and how that affect the way in which the unemployed make their livelihood; the blurring of the boundaries between formal and informal work; How people experience unemployment and how they respond to it, both individually and collectively; How the 'problem of unemployment' is socially constructed by different social actors; Work and unemployment ethics among different groups of workers and ethnic groups; Analyses of unemployment policies