Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226073361 Published October 2013
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226073538 Published October 2013
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226073675 Published October 2013

Flawed System/Flawed Self

Job Searching and Unemployment Experiences

Ofer Sharone

Ofer Sharone

240 pages | 1 line drawing, 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2013
Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226073361 Published October 2013
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226073538 Published October 2013
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226073675 Published October 2013
Today 4.7 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months. In France more than ten percent of the working population is without work. In Israel it’s above seven percent. And in Greece and Spain, that number approaches thirty percent. Across the developed world, the experience of unemployment has become frighteningly common—and so are the seemingly endless tactics that job seekers employ in their quest for new work.

Flawed System/Flawed Self delves beneath these staggering numbers to explore the world of job searching and unemployment across class and nation. Through in-depth interviews and observations at job-search support organizations, Ofer Sharone reveals how different labor-market institutions give rise to job-search games like Israel’s résumé-based “spec games”—which are focused on presenting one’s skills to fit the job—and the “chemistry games” more common in the United States in which job seekers concentrate on presenting the person behind the résumé. By closely examining the specific day-to-day activities and strategies of searching for a job, Sharone develops a theory of the mechanisms that connect objective social structures and subjective experiences in this challenging environment and shows how these different structures can lead to very different experiences of unemployment.

American Sociological Association: ASA-Viviana Zelizer Distinguished Scholarship Award
Won

View Recent Awards page for more award winning books.
Steven Vallas | author of Work: A Critique
“In Flawed System/Flawed Self, Ofer Sharone develops a cogent, timely, and compelling account of why American employees blame themselves for their failure to secure employment and why their Israeli counterparts engage in system blame instead. Sharone moves the discussion well beyond global generalizations about the role of culture to make an important contribution to the literature of joblessness.”
Arlie Hochschild, author of The Outsourced Self
 “Imagine two men drawn from Ofer Sharone’s highly insightful and important study of how jobless people search for work. One approaches a job interview as he might a  first date, and the other, as he would an oral exam. The first offers who he is, the second, what he has. As we learn from this book, the first man is likely to be a white-collar American, and the second, his Israeli counterpart. After encountering  a series of ‘no, no, no’s,’ it is the open-hearted American who is likely to blame himself, feel shame, and give up, while the pragmatic Israeli is more likely to shrug it off and keep trying. Here Sharone articulates a central ‘got-ya’ moment of American market individualism. Called to try to feel personally empowered in the face of a merciless market he cannot control, the jobless man recoils in heart-felt defeat and feels stripped of a dignity—and power—he might otherwise enjoy. Realizing this, Sharone notes, is a first step in mobilizing for social change.”
Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley
 “One of capitalism’s achievements is to turn unemployment into perhaps the hardest work of all. Such is the startling argument of Flawed System / Flawed Self, which compares the work of re-entering the labor force in the US and Israel and the toll it takes on the individual.  A brilliant analysis of how we get sucked up into games of self-deception.”
Contents
Acknowledgments

Chapter 1. Introduction: Unemployment Experiences
Chapter 2. The American Chemistry Game
Chapter 3. The Chemistry Game Experience and Self- Blame
Chapter 4. A Cross- National Comparison: The Israeli Specs Game
Chapter 5. The Specs Game Experience and System- Blame
Chapter 6. A Cross- Class Comparison: The Blue- Collar Diligence Game
Chapter 7. Conclusion: Job- Search Games and Unemployment Experiences

Appendix A: Methodology
Appendix B: Notes on Social Games

Notes
References
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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