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Call for papers: New Work – New Problems? Gender Perspectives on the Transformation of Work

New Work – New Problems? Gender Perspectives on the Transformation of Work

Conference of the Gender Studies Committee of the Swiss Sociological Association and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Since the 20th century, paid employment has played a central role in guaranteeing social integration and livelihoods. In the tradition of Frithjof Bergmann, “new work” indicates a shift where paid work should serve the workers (and not the opposite) and provide them with meaning and satisfaction. Digitalization, globalization and the resulting flexibilization shape the way we work. Autonomy at work, self-organization and flexible working patterns are on the upswing as “new work”. We observe, however, an ambiguous impact on the workers. Precarity, exhaustion and exploitation, thus the opposite of the ideal “new work”, is what many employees currently experience. Furthermore, new work is ambivalently intertwined with the question of gender equity (Harding 2020): Changing working conditions and environments nourish hope for greater gender justice in the context of more egalitarian work cultures. Naturalizing arguments that women – as better team players – will profit from these changes fall short, since research has shown that the flexibilization of working conditions has reinforced and normalized the high commitment employees should show towards their employer, including working late and full-time. This reproduces the prototype of the ideal male worker.

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