Research Topic

Non-Standard Work, Self-Employment and Precariousness

About this Research Topic

The increased level of insecurity in labor markets has generated much debate on precarious work arrangements – from illegal and temporary work to home working, piecework, freelancing and online jobs – based on the assumption that the ongoing deregulation and transition to flexible labor markets incur higher risks for the labor force. Situations of precariousness are measured by the extent to which the emerging work arrangements impact on the stability of employment and the access to social protections. With the aim to analyze the social consequences of labor market flexibilization, and to gain better understanding of non-standard work arrangements, more attention is needed on the complexity and heterogeneous nature of labor market statuses and types of contracts that are different from what has so far been considered a standard employment relationship. This is particularly true when looking at the main categories traditionally used to interpret work and employment and compare them with the emerging of new forms of work, for instance self-employment, which often blur the distinction between dependent and independent worker.

The proliferating of new and old risks for workers with non-standard forms of employment, including those in a hybrid position between autonomous and dependent work, poses relevant questions for those who are interested in labour market tranformations: What are the relations between standard and non-standard and between non-standard and self-employment, and finally how all this relate to precariousness? How the new work arrangements differ across national contexts in terms of employment protection and workers’ rights? What are the main differences and similarities in terms of class, migrant status, gender and age? How are work identities constructed? Under what conditions are these workers able to develop forms of collective representation? How can the collective representation and practices of organizing be articulated, and how do they manage to be widespread and effective?

The goal of this Research Topic is to share innovative theoretical and methodological lenses able to define and examine the emerging work arrangements, and to understand to what extent they produce situations of precariousness.


Keywords: Non-standard employment, atypical forms of work, dependent and independent (solo) self-employment, hybrid areas of work, labor market (de-)regulation, social protection, workers’ rights, collective representation, identities, subjectivities, instability, precariousness, social exclusion/inclusion


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The increased level of insecurity in labor markets has generated much debate on precarious work arrangements – from illegal and temporary work to home working, piecework, freelancing and online jobs – based on the assumption that the ongoing deregulation and transition to flexible labor markets incur higher risks for the labor force. Situations of precariousness are measured by the extent to which the emerging work arrangements impact on the stability of employment and the access to social protections. With the aim to analyze the social consequences of labor market flexibilization, and to gain better understanding of non-standard work arrangements, more attention is needed on the complexity and heterogeneous nature of labor market statuses and types of contracts that are different from what has so far been considered a standard employment relationship. This is particularly true when looking at the main categories traditionally used to interpret work and employment and compare them with the emerging of new forms of work, for instance self-employment, which often blur the distinction between dependent and independent worker.

The proliferating of new and old risks for workers with non-standard forms of employment, including those in a hybrid position between autonomous and dependent work, poses relevant questions for those who are interested in labour market tranformations: What are the relations between standard and non-standard and between non-standard and self-employment, and finally how all this relate to precariousness? How the new work arrangements differ across national contexts in terms of employment protection and workers’ rights? What are the main differences and similarities in terms of class, migrant status, gender and age? How are work identities constructed? Under what conditions are these workers able to develop forms of collective representation? How can the collective representation and practices of organizing be articulated, and how do they manage to be widespread and effective?

The goal of this Research Topic is to share innovative theoretical and methodological lenses able to define and examine the emerging work arrangements, and to understand to what extent they produce situations of precariousness.


Keywords: Non-standard employment, atypical forms of work, dependent and independent (solo) self-employment, hybrid areas of work, labor market (de-)regulation, social protection, workers’ rights, collective representation, identities, subjectivities, instability, precariousness, social exclusion/inclusion


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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27 May 2019 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

27 May 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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