Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Vulnerability of the ‘Entrepreneurial Self’: Analysing the Interplay between Labour Markets and Social Policy

  • Kevin Caraher (a1) and Enrico Reuter (a2)

Precarious forms of employment and increased subjectivation have profoundly altered the way in which wage-labour acts as an integrative force in society. At the same time and contributing to these changes, the focus of social policies has undergone a significant transformation, leading to an increased emphasis on individualised activation. Using the concept of vulnerability, the article has three objectives: First, to argue for an understanding of vulnerability that is sensitive to the importance of wage-labour; secondly, to outline how changes in labour markets due to the ongoing crisis of contemporary capitalism create vulnerability and to assess how social policies contribute as well as attempt to respond to these vulnerabilities with ambivalent outcomes; and finally to introduce an analytical approach to explore the interplay between social policy and socio-economic structures in determining the extent and nature of labour-market related vulnerability using the case of self-employment.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

B. Amable (2003) The Diversity of Modern Capitalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

B. Baumberg (2016) ‘The stigma of claiming benefits: a quantitative study’, Journal of Social Policy, 45, 2, 181–99.

K. Brown (2012) ‘Remoralising “vulnerability”’, People, Place and Policy Online, 6, 1, 4153.

K. Brown (2014) ‘Questioning the vulnerability zeitgeist: care and control practices with “vulnerable” young people’, Social Policy and Society, 13, 3, 371–88.

K. Brown (2015) Vulnerability and Young People, Care and Social Control in Policy and Practice, Bristol: Policy Press.

K. Brown , K. Ecclestone and N. Emmel (2017) ‘Review article: the many faces of vulnerability, Social Policy and Society, first published online 1 February 2017 doi:10.1017/S1474746416000610.

R. Castel (2000) ‘The roads to disaffiliation: insecure work and vulnerable relationships’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24, 3, 519–35.

R. Chambers (1989) ‘Vulnerability, coping and policy’, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Bulletin, 37, 4, 3340.

M. Crook (2014) ‘The last bastion of the social democratic golden age: the welfare state without its class basis’, Political Studies Review, 12, 2, 239–47.

H. Dagdeviren , M. Donoghue and M. Promberger (2016) ‘Resilience, hardship and social conditions’, Journal of Social Policy, 45, 1, 120.

H. Dean (2006) ‘Re-conceptualising welfare-to-work for people with multiple problems and needs’, Journal of Social Policy, 32, 3, 441–59.

H. Dean (2012) ‘The ethical deficit of the United Kingdom's proposed universal credit: pimping the precariat?’, The Political Quarterly, 83, 2, 353–59.

C. Deeming (2016) ‘Rethinking social policy and society’, Social Policy and Society, 15, 2, 159–75.

P. Dwyer and S. Wright (2014) ‘Universal credit, ubiquitous conditionality and its implications for social citizenship’, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 22, 1, 2736.

N. Emmel and K. Hughes (2010) ‘“Recession, it's all the same to us son”: the longitudinal experience (1999–2010) of deprivation’, Twenty-First Century Society, 5, 2, 171–81.

G. Esping-Andersen (1999) Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

D. R. Fletcher (2015) ‘Workfare – a blast from the past? Contemporary work conditionality for the unemployed in historical perspective’, Social Policy and Society, 14, 3, 329–39.

M. Husson (2012) ‘Le néolibéralisme: Stade suprême? [Neoliberalism: Supreme State?]’, Actuel Marx, 51, 1, 86101.

D. Jackson , A. Firtko and M. Edenborough (2007) ‘Personal resilience as a strategy for surviving and thriving in the face of workplace adversity: a literature review’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 60, 1, 19.

M. Lallement (2011) ‘Europe and the economic crisis: forms of labour market adjustment and varieties of capitalism’, Work, Employment and Society, 25, 4, 627–41.

C. Lapavitsas (2011) ‘Theorizing financialization’, Work, Employment and Society, 25, 4, 611–26.

C. Levy-Vroelent (2010) ‘Housing vulnerable groups: the development of a new public action sector’, International Journal of Housing Policy, 10, 4, 443–56.

C. Rademacher and P. Ramos Lobato (2008) ‘Teufelskreis oder Glücksspirale? Ungleiche Bewältigung unsicherer Beschäftigung [Vicious circle or wheel of fortune? Unequal coping with insecure jobs]’, in R. Eickelpasch , C. Rademacher and P. Ramos Lobato (eds.), Metamorphosen des Kapitalismus und seiner Kritik, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 118–47.

T. Raffass (2016) ‘Work enforcement in liberal democracies’, Journal of Social Policy, 45, 3, 417–34.

P. Rosanvallon (2013) The Society of Equals, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

M. Savage , F. Devine , N. Cunningham , M. Taylor , L. Yaojin , J. Hjellbrekke , B. Le Roux , S. Friedman and A. Miles (2013) ‘A new model of social class? Findings from the BBC's Great British Class Survey Experiment’, Sociology, 47, 2, 219–50.

M. J. Smith (2009) Power and the State, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

P. Taylor-Gooby , J. M. Gumy and A. Otto (2015) ‘Can “new welfare” address poverty through more and better Jobs?’, Journal of Social Policy, 44, 1, 83104.

L. Wacquant (2009) Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity, London: Duke University Press.

S. Walby (2013) ‘Finance versus democracy? Theorizing finance in society’, Work, Employment and Society, 27, 3, 489507.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
  • URL: /core/journals/social-policy-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 75 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 562 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 23rd February 2017 - 27th July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.