Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

The Swedish Model in the Post-Financial Crisis Era

Edited by Christina Garsten, Jessica Lindvert and Renita Thedvall

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, people who had never before had cause to worry about losing their jobs entered the ranks of the unemployed for the first time. In Sweden, the welfare state has been radically challenged and mass unemployment has become a reality in what used to be viewed as a model case for a full employment society. With an emphasis on Sweden in the context of transnational regulatory change, Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market discusses how the market mediates employment and moves on to explore the ways in which employees adjust to a new labour market. Focusing on the legibility, measurability and responsibility of jobseekers, the expert contributors of this book bring together an analysis of activation policy and new ways of organizing the mediation of work, with implications for the individual jobseeker.

Chapter 12: The labour market as a market: exchangeability, measurability and accountability

Christina Garsten

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Our worlds of work are in sway. The transition from a society based mainly on industrial production to a society where the production of knowledge and services is in focus has meant big changes in the organizing of the labour market. From the 1990s onward, norms concerning work, employment and learning have become increasingly integrated with general economic policy and the development of the market. Many of the regulatory changes introduced have been motivated by factors that have no direct connection to the content of work or with the work contract itself but with reference to market development and state budgetary resources. Both the direction and scope of the regulatory changes implemented in the past two decades can be said to have followed broadly the economic development. Discussions about how responsibility for an equitable sharing of risks in the labour market should be organized have been lively. This development may be understood in terms of the emergence of a new type of regulatory state and new forms of governance and control, with an emphasis on transparency and monitoring. A number of researchers have analysed the transformation of the public sector in terms of the emergence of an ‘audit society’ where new ideas and norms for governance and control have been established (Power 1997; Strathern 2000).

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