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‘It’s like a war zone’: Jay’s liminal experience of normal and extreme work in a UK supermarket during the COVID-19 pandemic

‘It’s like a war zone’: Jay’s liminal experience of normal and extreme work in a UK supermarket during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cai, Minjie, Tindal, Scott ORCID: 0000-0002-9262-9898 and Tartanoglu Bennett, Safak ORCID: 0000-0002-2858-8606 (2020) ‘It’s like a war zone’: Jay’s liminal experience of normal and extreme work in a UK supermarket during the COVID-19 pandemic. Work, Employment, and Society, 35 (2). pp. 386-395. ISSN 0950-0170 (Print), 1469-8722 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017020966527)

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Abstract

This article presents a UK supermarket worker’s experiences of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Writing during a period of uncertainty, Jay’s narrative reveals how the sudden and constant transitions between mundanity and extremity on the shop floor evoke conflicting emotions and work intensification that disrupt and reconstruct normality. His accounts describe violent customer behaviours, absent management, a lack of clear organisational policies, and the different views of appropriate health and safety measures among colleagues. It illustrates how liminality in the workplace at a time of crisis can endanger employees whose seemingly mundane jobs become extreme.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2020.
Uncontrolled Keywords: extreme work, frontline services, key workers, liminality, supermarket jobs
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW)
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2021 09:09
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/30305

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