Uniform TitleProtection and precariousness: workplace mobbing, gender and neoliberalism in Northern Italy
NameMole, Noelle J. (author), Ahearn, Laura (chair), Schein, Louisa (internal member), Haugerud, Angelique (internal member), Kulick, Don (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School-New Brunswick,
DescriptionThis dissertation, based on fourteen months of fieldwork from 2003-2004, reveals the
cultural co-production of gender, work and capitalist practices in one of Italy's economic
strongholds, the northern city of Padua. The study traces and conceptualizes the emergence,
institutionalization and charged circulation of "mobbing" across varied field sites: corporations, mobbing clinics and state public health institutions. On one level, mobbing refers to a set of vexing practices that isolate, degrade and humiliate a worker to the point of his or her resignation. However, I consider mobbing a deeply gendered cultural discourse about the intensified precariousness of labor that shapes and reflects the desires and subjectivities of Italians during neoliberal reform. I argue that programs to expand Italy's neoliberal economy and promote market flexibility collide with welfare state laws that safeguard employment in ways that make mobbing a particularly salient issue in Italy. That mobbing emerges between a precarious labor market and state protections, in turn, produces complex and opposing effects and paradoxes for workers. Far from envisioning protection and precariousness as two impenetrable categories, I aim to unveil how certain labor and state protections actually intensify the precariousness of workers. I also show how within social and economic precariousness worker-citizens find new pathways for protection. The "cultural biography" of mobbing pertains to a critical historical moment beginning in the late twentieth century when labor rights, good health and job protections come most vividly into direct opposition with a set of social, economic and political risks and uncertainties. I reveal
how it is precisely the volatile simultaneity between protection and precariousness--fueled
by apprehension and risk in the workplace--that produces mobbing as a culturally urgent issue and source of embodied identity in Italy. My study, delving into the charged life of mobbing, lends insight into how social actors produce meaning in a period of neoliberal reform, as well as how the intimacies of affect, health and gendered relations are inextricably articulated with the state and global economic processes.
Note[bibliography] Includes bibliographical references (p. 382-412).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.