Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Labour value(s) in crisis: a case from the Lisbon periphery  
Samuel Weeks (Thomas Jefferson University)

Paper short abstract:

Utilising ‘labour value’, I examine the work experiences of Lisbon’s Cape Verdeans from 2010-present: how my informants are earning much less and how they have been frightened into ‘accepting’ this fate. These factors show how value(s) long associated with work have been destabilised in the crisis.

Paper long abstract:

This paper employs the approach of 'labour value' in an effort to bridge the conceptual gaps between the extant theories of value as exchange and practice. I view the work that people do to be informed by many different 'values' (in the plural) at the same time that it creates numerous kinds of 'value' (in the singular). The context for this analysis is among Cape Verdean immigrants on the Lisbon periphery, a long-marginalised area of a country trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of austerity and stagnation. In this paper, I expound upon parallel tendencies that have marked the work experiences of this population from prior to 2010 and into the current 'crisis economy'. First, I show that my study participants are earning progressively less in wages. While most Portuguese workers have seen their pay cut since 2010, the downward pressure on the earnings of Cape Verdeans has been particularly severe due to a reduction of hours, an increase in work loads, unpredictability in scheduling and longer stretches of unemployment. The second factor I trace is how my study participants have largely been 'cowed' into accepting lower wages by means of fear, persuasion or a combination of these sentiments. They frequently ascribe a low value to their productive agency, one that they believe is reflected in the paltry wages they earn. Taken together, these two factors shed light on how the value(s) traditionally associated with work have been destabilised in the wake of the recent multiyear economic 'crisis' in Europe.

Panel P032
Value(s) of labour in austerity-era Europe
  Session 1