Conference proceedings article

Young workers´ biogeographies : an account and tentative analysis


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Subtitle: an account and tentative analysis

Author list: Zampoukos, Kristina

Publication year: 2013


Whereas in the past, many workers looked forward to a lifetime of loyal service to one single employer, new generations of workers face a labour market where secure jobs are becoming increasingly scarce and career paths less obvious (Roberts, 2009; MacDonald, 2011; Williams et al, 2012). Being a labour geographer it is my contention that the scope of action in the labour market is depending on the simultaneous intersection of who you are (identities such as sex, race, class, age, previous working experience and so on), where you are (geographical setting, sector of economy, firm) and what you aspire to become (dreams for the future, hopes and desires). The aim of this paper is therefore to discuss how the changes in working life are negotiated by representatives of a new generation of workers, aged 25-30: What strategies do young workers of various backgrounds apply in order to navigate in the current labour market and in order to “make a living”? How do they perceive their possibilities to advance?

This is done through an account and analysis of young workers bio-geographies (Castree, 2007). It is suggested that because of a labour mobility that includes repeated break-ups from work-places and at times even repeated migration, the (relative) spatial fixity of workers is delayed. Spatial fix has been, and still is, an important feature of peoples´ everyday life, influencing for instance the possibility of having a permanent home, to start a family, and to hold a sense of belonging, a sense of place (Tuan, 1996). In order to contribute to new knowledge regarding emerging and highly complex labour geographies, labour geographers might adopt concepts such as translocal, translocal place (Adey, 2010) and socio-spatial labour mobility (Zampoukos & Ioannides, 2011) by which the intersections between space, work and worker agency in a changing labour market can be further analysed.


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