Unemployment and Attitudes to Work
DUNCAN GALLIE AND CAROLYN VOGLER
How far must vulnerability to unemployment be accounted for in terms of the personal characteristics and work attitudes of the unemployed themselves, and how far must it be seen as the result of the labour market conditions that the unemployed confront? The argument that the unemployed themselves bear the responsibility for their marginality to the labour market implies that they have qualities that make them difficult to employ. For instance, they may have a degree of behavioural instability that makes it difficult for them to hold any job for long or a low level of commitment to employment, which means that they make little effort to get work once they have lost it. The alternative view is that the unemployed are largely victims of their circumstances: they may have been unlucky enough to have been employed in industries that engaged in large-scale redundancies and find themselves in labour markets where there is little demand for their skills. Finally, there is a set of arguments that emphasize the heterogeneity of the unemployed, suggesting that they should be seen as a set of diverse categories for whom unemployment has a very different significance. For instance, some see a major difference between those that are registered for benefit and those that are not. For others, unemployment is held to have a different significance for men than for women, due to differences in underlying social identities.
This chapter seeks to address this debate in three ways: first, it will examine the work histories of the unemployed and compare____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Social Change and the Experience of Unemployment. Contributors: Duncan Gallie - Editor, Catherine Marsh - Editor, Carolyn Vogler - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 115.
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