The struggle to reconcile precarious work and parenthood: the case of Italian ‘precarious parents’

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    This research is about parents in precarious employment, as the intersection of parental responsibilities and paid work represents a privileged site from which to explore the process of precarisation within a wider social context. Social reproduction is then interrogated in order to conceptually frame parents’ everyday struggles for stability. The dyad use-value and exchange-value is mobilised to make sense of parents’ activities in the domestic sphere as well as in paid work, so that the outcome of this research marks a conceptual shift from the metaphor work–family balance to the tension between useful activities and the monetary valorisations that these parents need to obtain. The research suggests then that these parents produce social wealth at a number of different levels, but their activities need to meet their exchange-value because monetary valorisation represents the way to get their livelihood. This research aims to conceptualise the antagonism of ‘precarious parents’ as their ‘normal life’ is distorted by daily struggles to achieve these means.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)812-828
    Number of pages17
    JournalWork, Employment and Society
    Issue number5
    Early online date26 Apr 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


    • critical theory
    • exchange-value
    • parenting
    • precarious work
    • social reproduction
    • struggle
    • use-value


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