Broke and Brokered in the Day Labor Business

Gretchen Wren Purser, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Fellow, SAR

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Gretchen Wren PurserGretchen Wren PurserPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz Gretchen Wren PurserPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz 

Day labor agencies—colloquially referred to as labor pools or body shops—exemplify several of the most consequential features of the neoliberal landscape of employment, including the spread of precarious work and the increased role of labor market intermediaries. Drawing upon extensive interviews and years of participant observation working as a day laborer amidst a predominantly homeless, formerly incarcerated African-American workforce in Oakland, California, and Baltimore, Maryland, this presentation focuses on workers’ experience of being “broke and brokered” at the bottom of the labor market.

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