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Title: Flexi-jobs or flexi-lives? : professionals' early career-paths in Italy and England
Author: Cuzzocrea, Valentina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 5322
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2008
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Increasingly flexible labour markets have caused a revolution in established career patterns. Youn'g, educated and skilled workers find themselves in protean careers in ~ which strategies of action, cultural meanings and objectives are being profoundly challenged. In this thesis I reconstruct how two groups of e~rly career professionals based in England and Italy and working in the fields of human resources, engineering and accountancy construct their careers. The analysis is substantiated mainly by sixty in-depth interviews, with the support of some textual analysis and notes from few observation experiments. .The comparative dimension between professionals based in Italy and England departs from a recognition of some basic aspects of Structuration Theory. My analysis, though, tries to embed agents in their own cultural contexts by using categories such as 'repertoires of evaluation' and 'cultural repertoires'. In this view, the ways in which professionals interact with the institutions available in their contexts, turning them to their own advantage, constitute strategies of action typical of each context. I consider this, in particular, in relation to the institutions of professions, organisations and the position in the life course. Then, I discuss the role of the graduate career propaganda in forging professionals' ambitions and I critically assess the definitions of work, certainty and the concept of a good job among interviewees' responses. I ultimately suggest the adoption of a flexi-live perspective in an attempt to understand the wider framework in which strategies of action are taken and the reasoning behind these. This allows us to go beyond the employment status and look broadly at the mechanisms in which careers are constructed. Different modulations of individualism, individualisation and self-entrepreneurship emerge in the strategies of the two groups of professionals giving shape to interesting solutions: professionals interviewed who were based in England appear strongly attached to individualism and self-entrepreneurship, but tend to follow institutional routes in a poorly individualised manner, simply by taking opportunities available. On the contrary, professionals based in Italy strive to conceive of themselves as individuals and self-entrepreuners, yet the lack of standardised work practices forces them to engage in extremely individualised strategies, mostly by avoiding identified constraints.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available