An interesting article appeared in Work, Employment and Society today. "The myth of the reflexive worker: class and work histories in neo-liberal times" examines the life-stories of 55 workers in Britain to assess the degree to which class continues to affect life choices. The idea that class remains an important determinant in life patterns runs contrary to the notion that "reflexive workers" navigate the increased insecurity that characterizes labour markets.
The article demonstrates the "work trajectories, despite changes that have taken place, are still driven along class tracks by class motors." Those workers with access to capital appear better able to explore new directions and cope with employment setbacks. Those without such access find themselves much less able to cope and thus make choices of necessity. Herein we see class remains an important driver of behaviour.
Class, of course, can have an international dimension as the growing use of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Alberta demonstrates. Traditionally limited to domestic workers, the use of TFWs has rapidly expanded. On October 19, the Work and Learning Network in partnership with the Prairie Metropolis Centre will be hosting a Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) symposium in Edmonton addressing TFWs in nursing.
-- Bob Barnetson