The Personal Consequences of the Neo-Liberal Turn: Subjectivity, Alienation, and Worker Health

Economic and social policies – including labour market policies – have increasingly responded to the forces of global competition by embracing the neo-liberal model of market activity. This model has differential effects on different strata and occupations in the labor force. Professionals, technicians and managers are often confronted with an increased intensity of work and longer, flexible working hours, while those in manual or less skilled occupations often face declining wages and unstable or unpredictable forms of employment. Either pattern can have potentially long term consequences for the physical and mental health of many workers, especially where the flexibility and uncertainty of employment have grown. This workshop builds on the growing literature dealing with these topics and it aims at (a) identifying the nature of the link between working conditions, precarious employment, and worker well-being; (b) identifying the various pressures that are being brought to bear on worker identity; and (c) assessing the contemporary forms of alienation that precarious work provokes, as well as the social supports that can moderate the link between precariousness and worker well-being.

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