The Liminality of Temporary Agency Work: Exploring the Dimensions of Danish Temporary Agency Workers’ Liminal Experience

  • Ingo Winkler University of Southern Denmark
  • Mustafa Khalil Mahmood University of Southern Denmark
Keywords: Employment, wages, unemployment & rehabilitation, Identity, meaning & culture, Organization & management

Abstract

The concept of liminality refers to the experience to be betwixt-and-between social structures and the associated positions, statuses, and roles. We advance the original use of the concept by introducing the various meanings that the experience of being in a liminal state can take. Drawing on political anthropology we identify the dimensions of ‘types of subjects,’ ‘time,’ ‘space,’ and ‘scale’ in order to analytically unlock the liminal experience. Exemplifying our concept we present the findings from an own study of temporary agency workers in Denmark. Exploring the workers’ interpretations allows us to illustrate to what extent their employment situation constitutes a multi-dimensional liminal experience between established social structures and employment categories. The article emphasizes the complexity of the liminal experience. Theoretically and empirically, we show the many meanings along which liminality can unfold in organizational and work-related contexts. We argue that future studies should explore the various dimensions in other contexts of passages from one relatively stable state to another. In doing so, similarities and differences between various liminal experiences and the role the various dimensions play could be identified.

Author Biographies

Ingo Winkler, University of Southern Denmark

Associate Professor. email: inw@sam.sdu.dk

Mustafa Khalil Mahmood, University of Southern Denmark

PhD student

Published
2015-03-01
How to Cite
Winkler, I., & Mahmood, M. (2015). The Liminality of Temporary Agency Work: Exploring the Dimensions of Danish Temporary Agency Workers’ Liminal Experience. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 5(1), 51-68. https://doi.org/10.19154/njwls.v5i1.4765
Section
Articles