Side Hustle Safety Net: How Vulnerable Workers Survive Precarious Times (Paperback)

Side Hustle Safety Net: How Vulnerable Workers Survive Precarious Times By Alexandrea J. Ravenelle Cover Image
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The first major study of how the pandemic affected gig workers—a sociological exploration that reads like a novel.
This is the story of what the most vulnerable wage earners—gig workers, restaurant staff, early-career creatives, and minimum-wage laborers—do when the economy suddenly collapses. In Side Hustle Safety Net, Alexandrea J. Ravenelle builds on interviews with nearly two hundred gig-based and precarious workers, conducted during the height of the pandemic, to uncover the unique challenges they faced in unprecedented times.
This book looks at both the officially unemployed and the “forgotten jobless”—a digital-era demographic that turned to side hustles—and reveals how they fared. CARES Act assistance allowed some to change careers, start businesses, perhaps transform their lives. However, gig workers and those involved in “polyemployment” found themselves at the mercy of outdated unemployment systems, vulnerable to scams, and attempting dubious survival strategies. Ultimately, Side Hustle Safety Net argues that the rise of the gig economy, partnered with underemployment and economic instability, has increased worker precarity with disastrous consequences.

About the Author

Alexandrea J. Ravenelle is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy.

Praise For…

"A lively, fascinating panorama of the neo-Dickensian labor regime so many workers endure."
— Publishers Weekly

"Eye-opening. . . . A startling examination of the patchy response to pandemic-era unemployment."
— Kirkus Reviews

"Side Hustle Safety Net provides rich case studies and thought-provoking analyses of precarious workers during the pandemic, guiding readers to observe the trend of poly-employment and drawing attention to the deficiencies in the social safety net."
— Convergence
Product Details
ISBN: 9780520387300
ISBN-10: 0520387309
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: October 24th, 2023
Pages: 344
Language: English