A new mystique? Working for yourself in the neoliberal economy

Taylor, Stephanie (2015). A new mystique? Working for yourself in the neoliberal economy. In: Conor, Bridget; Gill, Rosalind and Taylor, Stephanie eds. Gender and Creative Labour. Sociological Review Monograph Series (Vol. 63 S1). Wiley, pp. 174–187.

URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12248


This article discusses the growing UK trend of people working for themselves. Beginning with the example of a media representation, it explores the wider implications of a discursive drift by which discourses of entrepreneurialism and contemporary creative work converge on the new figure of the worker who leaves paid employment for the supposed satisfactions of working from home. The article argues that, in contrast to the heroic masculine figures of the entrepreneur and artist, this is a feminised low-status worker. Its celebration is part of a ‘new mystique’ resembling the ‘housewife trap’ described by Friedan (1963) half a century ago, because for increasing numbers of people, both male and female, working for yourself amounts to exclusion to an almost subsistence level of economic activity on the margins of the neoliberal economy.

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