Accepted Paper:

Introduction to section 2: old and new trends in the anthropology of unemployment  

Author:

Francisco Arqueros (University of Almeria, Spain)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will compare and contrast new and old ethnographic work carried out on unemployment. It will engage with the most salient topics and approaches to see how the research agendas of anthropologists are related to conflicts over ideas and power in society at large.

Paper long abstract:

Higher rates of unemployment in the EU since the last economic recession have become key issues for governments and ordinary people as well as for anthropologists.

The increasing relevance of Informal and precarious work have blurred the boundaries between 'work' and 'no work' and what constitute an economic activity in order get a livelihood. The ongoing dismantling of the social welfare state is having an effect on how people make their livelihood. This poses questions such how people cope with unemployment individually and how they respond to it collectively.

This paper will compare and contrast recent ethnographic work with research carried out by anthropologists in other period of high unemployment rates such as the 1980s and early 1990s. The idea is to critically engage with the most salient topics and approaches in our discipline during the two periods, to see how the contradictory research agendas of anthropologists are related to conflicts over ideas and power in society at large.

Finally, this paper will point at new trends in the anthropology of unemployment and will relate them to debates over neoliberal versus Keynesian alternatives to the crisis. In this context I will discuss how our discipline can contribute to this ongoing debate.

Panel P080
New trends in the anthropology of unemployment after the economic crisis of 2008-9 [Anthropology of Economy Network]