Purpose The retail sector is not largely studied in Italy. The study offers a comparison between youth retail shift work in Milan and London. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate on the one hand on youth work and on the other hand to the debate on agency and structural factors in life planning, representation of the future and the transition to adulthood, observed in the United Kingdom's and Italian labour market. Even if the second one is a Southern European Country, these contexts are both characterised by a service-oriented economy and the widespread of precarious and flexible jobs. Design/methodology/approach Qualitative methods were used: one year of ethnographic observation, 50 interviews and two focus groups were carried out between 2015 and 2018 with retail workers and trade unionists. The contexts are Corso Buenos Aires in Milan, Italy, and Oxford Street in London, United Kingdom. Analysing young workers' discourses, the author identifies narratives that allow to grasp their present agency and imagined future. Findings Observing the crisis of the narrative (Sennett, 2020) allows to highlight the social consequences of working times on young workers' everyday life and future. The author argues that young workers struggle with the narrative of their present everyday life and the representation of the future. This relates to the condition of time alienation due to the flexible schedules and the fast pace of work in retail, both affecting the work-life balance. Originality/value The social consequences of flexible schedules in retail and fast fashion sector, which are new issues not yet sufficiently explored, are here investigated from the perspective of young workers. The study is focussed on the representations of young people working with customers in social and economic contexts characterised by flexible schedules and the deregulation of shop openings, the so-called 24/7 service society, not largely investigated in the sociological scientific literature, above all in the Italian context.

Dordoni, A. (2022). Young retail shift workers (not) planning their future: working with customers in the 24/7 service society in the transition to adulthood. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY & SOCIAL POLICY, 42(13/14), 66-80 [10.1108/IJSSP-02-2022-0060].

Young retail shift workers (not) planning their future: working with customers in the 24/7 service society in the transition to adulthood

Dordoni, A
2022

Abstract

Purpose The retail sector is not largely studied in Italy. The study offers a comparison between youth retail shift work in Milan and London. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate on the one hand on youth work and on the other hand to the debate on agency and structural factors in life planning, representation of the future and the transition to adulthood, observed in the United Kingdom's and Italian labour market. Even if the second one is a Southern European Country, these contexts are both characterised by a service-oriented economy and the widespread of precarious and flexible jobs. Design/methodology/approach Qualitative methods were used: one year of ethnographic observation, 50 interviews and two focus groups were carried out between 2015 and 2018 with retail workers and trade unionists. The contexts are Corso Buenos Aires in Milan, Italy, and Oxford Street in London, United Kingdom. Analysing young workers' discourses, the author identifies narratives that allow to grasp their present agency and imagined future. Findings Observing the crisis of the narrative (Sennett, 2020) allows to highlight the social consequences of working times on young workers' everyday life and future. The author argues that young workers struggle with the narrative of their present everyday life and the representation of the future. This relates to the condition of time alienation due to the flexible schedules and the fast pace of work in retail, both affecting the work-life balance. Originality/value The social consequences of flexible schedules in retail and fast fashion sector, which are new issues not yet sufficiently explored, are here investigated from the perspective of young workers. The study is focussed on the representations of young people working with customers in social and economic contexts characterised by flexible schedules and the deregulation of shop openings, the so-called 24/7 service society, not largely investigated in the sociological scientific literature, above all in the Italian context.
No
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Scientifica
retail work, service work, time, flexibility, youth work, transition to adulthood, narrative, agency, future, discourses, representations, low-paid jobs, low-qualified jobs
English
66
80
15
Dordoni, A. (2022). Young retail shift workers (not) planning their future: working with customers in the 24/7 service society in the transition to adulthood. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY & SOCIAL POLICY, 42(13/14), 66-80 [10.1108/IJSSP-02-2022-0060].
Dordoni, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/392572
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