Global economic restructuring implies a profound transformation of the work sphere characterised by deregulated labour markets and flexibilised employment conditions as well as more flexible work arrangements and increasing demands on the individual worker. Physically this is also expressed through new spaces of work, such as smart offices, co-working spaces or remote working.
Mobility has been identified as a crucial characteristic of such late modern knowledge societies. Work-related migration has become more complex and specific professions have become particularly ‘mobilised’. Since the 2000s, we can observe a “skills turn” for many Western countries that are confronted with projected skills shortages due to demographic change and following a rationale of competition for resources. Raghuram (2014) even conceives of “mobility as part of the constitution of the skilled subject”. Employers have contributed to the normalisation of staff mobility through the implementation of corporate mobility regimes. A main objective of this project is to examine the role of the spatial context and scalar positioning of places, which we argue shape how cities function as reception contexts and how they provide different opportunity structures.
The main research questions are:
How are transformations of work spheres interlinked with changing mobilities and place attachments of workers?
How do employers frame and design strategies regarding their employees’ mobility and place attachment in the context of their urban locations? How do different employers’ strategies shape workers’ mobilities and place attachments?
How do (work-induced) changes in workers’ place attachment and mobility interact with policy making and governance strategies for managing inhabitants’ mobility and place attachment?
The project builds on previous research at ILS by the project leaders Robert Nadler and Jörg Plöger as well as the other members of the research team. The focus project “Mobility and Work” focusses on work-related mobility by using a meso-level analytical perspective to study the intersectionality of the individual perspectives of migrant/mobile workers, the institutional rationales of employers and the role of public stakeholders and local politicians. The project uses an international comparative approach, with case studies in German cities and – building on institutional collaborations – with St. Louis and Manchester.