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Postfordist ethnoscapes: deindustrialization, work and unemployment in urban context 
Luca Rimoldi (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
Carlo Capello (University of Torino)
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Start time:
21 July, 2016 at
Time zone: Europe/Rome
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

This panel welcomes ethnographic and theoretical accounts on the consequences of the deindustrialization upon cities and workers' life. Emphasis is given to institutions and on economic interests that regulate the impact of lack of work within Western and non-Western societies.

Long Abstract:

Since our discipline arrived late to the study of industrial work, at least in Western contexts, the anthropology of work often results in a "salvage anthropology". However, work has not disappeared, it has shifted and continues to shift and migrate, assuming phantasmatic forms of flexibility, precariousness, unemployment. It is recently that cultural anthropology, in an attempt to make up for its lateness, has started to investigate how work constructs subjectivities and structures everyday life. Many research have concentrated on the consequences of de-industrialisation and the transformation of industrial work.

If in neo-liberal contemporary societies capital is no longer tied to specific places but it fluctuates along global chains, what happens to the people and production places when there is no more work or when flexibility, precariousness and unemployment gain the upper hand? What strategies are used to restructure everyday life and recreate individual and collective frameworks?

On the one hand, the closure or relocation of large factories may contribute to the advancement of poverty, to an increase in the illegal labour market, and to the hyperghettoization of certain urban areas. On the other hand, the same events aid the creation of new social networks among unemployed and between-jobs people, and the redefinition of perspective political practices.

The panel analyses, through theoretical and ethnographic accounts, the consequences of urban deindustrialisation on cities and on the lives of workers by focusing on the institutions and economic interests that govern the impact of the lack of work on Western and non-Western societies.

Accepted papers:

Session 1