The Excluded, the Vulnerable and the Reintegrated in a Neoliberal Era: Qualitative Dimensions of the Unemployment Experience.

  • Susan Silver Ryerson University
  • John Shields Ryerson University
  • Sue Wilson Ryerson University
  • Antonie Scholtz University of Toronto


In this qualitative study, we examine the pathways to vulnerability created by structural unemployment. We focus on a sample of workers often neglected in unemployment studies, namely full-time workers who have held steady employment before job loss. Our sample consists of 29 Canadian workers, restructured from full-time employment and followed for two years. By investigating what happens to these workers we are able to gain valuable insight into the “lived experience” of structural job loss. Their stories describe pathways that lead to re-integration, but also expose pathways that result in heightened states of vulnerability and exclusion from the labour market. The paper concludes with a number of policy suggestions aimed at redressing some of the most negative effects of neoliberal labour market restructuring.