Venture Labor| Discourses of Control and Free Agency: Generating Self-Blame among Unemployed Workers

Ofer Sharone


I explore how the culture of free agency and self-entrepreneurship discussed in Neff’s Venture Labor manifests itself among unemployed professionals. My research into the support discourses unemployed white-collar workers encounter in their job searches reveals an important insight into the cultural construction of labor. To take control of one’s career means believing that external barriers do not matter and that one can find one’s dream job so long as one follows one’s passions. Because success in one’s job search is perceived as depending on the projection of an authentic and passionate self, the experience of labor market difficulties generates devastating self-blame.


unemployment, self-help discourses, hiring, individualism

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