Rethinking Activation: An Invitational Workshop

University of Tampere, 28-29 May 2015. Co-convenors:  Lisa Adkins and Lena Näre Employment activation measures designed to ‘encourage jobseekers to become more active in their efforts to find work and/or improve their employability’ (OECD, 2007) are intensifying across many national domains. Such measures have been linked to some of the key and defining features of contemporary capitalism, including the production and disciplining of neo-liberal subjects, the supply of cheap and/or free sources of labour for highly flexible labour markets, and the framing of under and unemployment not as a problem of labour demand but as tied to the deficiencies of potential workers. Yet, in a context where activation measures address not a subject who is deficient or lacking in human capital but who is human capital, where employability comprises constant job readiness even though employment may never arrive, and where activation is implicated not simply in a commodification or recommodification of labour but a major restructuring of work and labour, this workshop asks: does activation need to be rethought? And if so, how do we ‘rethink activation? This workshop brings together sociologists working on Academy of Finland funded research projects on activation who, in different ways, are concerned with such a process of rethinking.


Lisa Adkins (University of Tampere/University of Turku)

Kori Allan (University of Newcastle)

Lotta Haikkola (University of Helsinki)

Olli Karsio (University of Tampere)

Daria Krivonos (University of Helsinki)

Katariina Mäkinen (Helsinki Collegium)

Mona Mannevuo (University of Turku)

Lena Näre (University of Helsinki)

Elina Paju (University of Helsinki)


Download Rethinking Activation Programme

References OECD (2007) Activating the Unemployed: What Countries Do, Paris: OECD Publishing.


PHOTOS from the workshop

Photo: LendingMemo

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