Contingent Employment, Workforce Health, and Citizenship

October 27, 2011

From the Publisher:

This book offers an account of the social production of (ill) health. The author theorises how health and ill-health can be produced via the interaction of individual-level discourses of contingent work and broader socio-political contexts. One of the most important changes affecting work and workers in (non)industrialized countries over the last two decades is the spread of contingent forms of work. Contingent employment is a mode of work organisation characterised by transitory employment relationships, such as short- or fixed-term contracts, part-time, casual/on-call, self-employment, seasonal, and temporary help agency work. It emerged as a significant form of employment in the context of the global capitalism–– globalisation of trade, investment, production, intensified economic competition, and associated corporate responses such as organisational restructuring, downsizing, and outsourcing. In Canada, contingent work accounts for 13% of total employment, up from 9.7% in 1998. In the United States, upwards of 30% of workers are engaged in some form of contingent work. Similar labour market shifts are apparent in European countries.

The increasing prevalence of contingent work has prompted concerns about its health implications for people who do these types of work. Nonetheless, the relationship between contingent work and health is poorly understood because existing research findings are inconsistent or inconclusive. One body of literature suggests that it has detrimental effects on the health, safety, and well-being of workers.

Another––albeit more modest––body of literature suggests that contingent work might be beneficial for health because it has been associated with less stress and fewer mental health problems, lower levels of somatic complaints, and better self-rated health.

The research reported in this book casts light on these discrepant health-related findings by examining contingent work from the perspective of workers, through an exploration of how they experience and understand this form of work and how these experiences and understandings might affect health.

Contingent Employment, Workforce Health, and Citizenship, by Marcia E. Facey. Amherst : Cambria Press, 2011. ISBN 9781604977431 (hardcover).

For more information on the availability of this title from the University of Toronto Libraries catalogue, click here.

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