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International Labour Organisation: Future of Work Initiative. Theme 1: Work and society

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Corporate author/s:

University of the Western Cape (UWC), Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group

Person/s author/s:

Tame, Bianca; Jacobs, Mario; Chinguno, Crispen; Benya, Asanda


research report



This paper elaborates on current changes taking place in the world of work and what implications they will have for the relationship between work and society. We draw from extended definitions of what constitutes work and who is a worker, and thus illuminate new actors and incorporate activities that are usually excluded from traditional definitions of 'employment'. Below we also elaborate on how changes in the world of work will affect society and be affected by technological changes; spatial shifts and flexibility; youth employment and the skills gap (s); rural-urban connections; formal and informal linkages; and internal and regional migratory connections. Our approach to work and society is that they are interconnected and interdependent, changes that happen in one sphere affect how the other sphere is configured and vice versa. Social categories such as gender, race, ethnicity, notions of citizenship, and resulting hierarchies and segmentation within society are also examined in relation to the future of work.

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