Hollowing-out ascriptive person categories: the concept of ‘employability’

Christine Weinbach

- completed -

Employability is a powerful instrument passed on by politics to public employment services (PES) as ‘people-processing organizations’ (Hasenfeld 1972), which are seen as enablers dealing with expectations of the labor market. By enabling their clients to become employable individuals, these enablers impose expectations on their clients, and thus hollow-out expectations linked to ascriptive person categories, such as gender and ethnicity. The present project focuses on the re-categorisation work of PES staff in German job centers. The empirical basis is qualitative data - expert interviews and transcribed mediation talks between staff and clients - which were collected as part of a DFG-funded research project at the University of Potsdam.

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