This paper explores how looming planetary crises become present in the lived experiences of future female workers, and how such experiences condition performances of viable subjectivity. Drawing on interview data from a longitudinal study of young women's education and career aspirations, the paper zooms in on moments where concerns about planetary crises were felt in informants' everyday lives. We augment Judith Butler's writings on loss with Karen Barad's concept of “intra-action” to theorize these moments as experiences of loss in which constitutive dependencies and entanglements—otherwise repressed and invisible—touch young women's lives. Against this theoretical backdrop, we trace how such experiences interrupt performances of neoliberal work subjectivity and thereby create a potential for alternative agencies grounded in an ethics of entanglement. The paper thus contributes new insights into young women's complex performances of viable work subjectivity, showing how more sustainable and collective ways of performing the self emerge. As such, we offer researchers and professionals working with and around young women a nuanced understanding of how young women contest and exceed notions of neoliberal individualism.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 18 August 2023
- Future female workers
- Planetary crisis