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‘I don’t really like tedious, monotonous work’: working-class young women, service sector employment and social mobility in contemporary Russia

‘I don’t really like tedious, monotonous work’: working-class young women, service sector employment and social mobility in contemporary Russia
‘I don’t really like tedious, monotonous work’: working-class young women, service sector employment and social mobility in contemporary Russia
This article contributes a global perspective to the emerging literature on girlhood in western contexts by examining the changing shape of transitions to adulthood amongst working-class young women in St. Petersburg, Russia. As in many western countries, new forms of service sector employment and an increasingly accessible higher education system appear to offer young women new prospects for social mobility. In contrast to the increasingly impoverished and denigrated traditional pathways into work, the young women in the study derive significant value from these new opportunities, constructing narratives of self-actualisation and approximating notions of respectable femininity. Nevertheless, actual social mobility is elusive, as familiar patterns of classed and gendered stratification limit their prospects. Despite its specificity, the case thus further illustrates the limited nature of the transformations available to young women through the new forms of education and work characteristic of global neoliberal contexts.
class, employment, femininities, gender, neoliberalism, post-socialism, russia, service sector, youth transitions
0038-0385
106–122
Walker, Charlie
73a65297-4ef1-4ad0-88ea-1626f11f0665
Walker, Charlie
73a65297-4ef1-4ad0-88ea-1626f11f0665

Walker, Charlie (2015) ‘I don’t really like tedious, monotonous work’: working-class young women, service sector employment and social mobility in contemporary Russia. Sociology, 49 (1), 106–122. (doi:10.1177/0038038514530537).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article contributes a global perspective to the emerging literature on girlhood in western contexts by examining the changing shape of transitions to adulthood amongst working-class young women in St. Petersburg, Russia. As in many western countries, new forms of service sector employment and an increasingly accessible higher education system appear to offer young women new prospects for social mobility. In contrast to the increasingly impoverished and denigrated traditional pathways into work, the young women in the study derive significant value from these new opportunities, constructing narratives of self-actualisation and approximating notions of respectable femininity. Nevertheless, actual social mobility is elusive, as familiar patterns of classed and gendered stratification limit their prospects. Despite its specificity, the case thus further illustrates the limited nature of the transformations available to young women through the new forms of education and work characteristic of global neoliberal contexts.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 23 May 2014
Published date: 2015
Keywords: class, employment, femininities, gender, neoliberalism, post-socialism, russia, service sector, youth transitions
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367267
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367267
ISSN: 0038-0385
PURE UUID: 860b7d95-9b43-4450-83c2-36f7c9646a60

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Date deposited: 05 Sep 2014 09:41
Last modified: 26 Apr 2018 16:32

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