Dr. Sarah Damaske, Professor of Sociology and Labor & Employment Relations and Associate Director of the Population Research Institute at Penn State, presents in the PPL Colloquium Series:
The Tolls of Uncertainty: How Privilege and the Guilt Gap Shape Unemployment
In the Tolls of Uncertainty, Sarah Damaske argues unemployment is an institution—like workplaces, families, or schools—that both generates and reproduces inequalities. Both the state and the federal government wield enormous influence over the process, from determining whether someone is considered unemployed, to whether they are eligible for unemployment insurance, to how much support they will receive and for how long a duration. The unemployment institution exacerbates existing inequalities both through structural inequalities and through gendered and classed responses to the changes wrought by unemployment. Moreover, despite broad class distinctions in unemployment experiences, there was a gendered “guilt gap” that impacted everything from household labor to healthcare. Ultimately, Damaske contends the unemployment institution normalizes and legitimates employment precarity and the inequalities of today’s economy.
This event was organized in collaboration with the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania.