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    Taxi! A narrative study of low-skilled work from a career boundary perspective.

    Cooper, Helen Jane (2020) Taxi! A narrative study of low-skilled work from a career boundary perspective. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Whilst conceptualisations of career have broadened beyond traditional notions of climbing a professional ladder, empirical research continues to prioritise investigating the career experiences of a skilled elite. This has left low-skilled employment characterised primarily as problematic work and dismissed as careerless. However, research has identified occasional reports of meaningful, sustained careers being constructed by low-skilled workers. This thesis therefore seeks to understand better how individuals themselves interpret undertaking low-skilled work from a career perspective. The study investigates the career narratives of cab drivers who work in what has been classified as a low-skilled, dirty and precarious occupation. More specifically, it examines how the career narrative that each cab driver constructs is shaped by career boundaries. Narrative interviews with 32 cab drivers explored any prior work roles, the transition into cab driving and subsequent work experiences. Thematic analysis identified a core set of occupation, intra-occupation and personal boundaries which cab drivers perceived as constraining or enabling their career in many different ways. Narrative plotline analysis then highlighted how these varied boundary experiences shaped an array of career narratives ranging from cab driving as work of last resort, to a rewarding, lifelong career. This thesis offers new, important and timely insights into low-skilled career experiences. The results extend existing theory by identifying the central role of boundaries in shaping different types of low-skilled careers. They also illustrate how investigating career narratives from a boundary perspective provides nuanced insights into complex subjective career experiences. From a policy perspective, the findings inform contemporary debates by showing how career boundaries may facilitate positive career experiences, in spite of poor pay rates and insecure contracts in the low-skilled sector. Finally, by acknowledging both career challenges and opportunities associated with low-skilled work, this thesis enables career counsellors to assist clients in evaluating their career options more effectively.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 15:42
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:42


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