Informations and abstract
Keywords: Anthropology of Unemployment; Liminality; Active Job Search; Neoliberal Apparatus; Neoliberal Rituals.
Grounded on an ethnographic study among unemployed people in Turin and, in particular, on a period of participant observation in one of the municipal centres offering courses for active job search, the paper aims to analyse some important dimensions of contemporary neoliberal policies concerning unemployment. Drawing on the insight that unemployed people are in a particular state of liminality, the ethnographic analysis suggests that active job search courses are a particular kind of rite of passage and also part of a neoliberal ideological apparatus. As such, they aim at transforming the subjectivities of the unemployed while supporting an individualized conception of the lack of work. Moreover, the research shows that a large part of the strength of the courses rests in the hidden ritual and symbolic qualities of this apparatus, which offers to the liminal unemployed - deprived of social status as well as of work - a new, illusory identity.