‘When the stomach is full we look for respect’: perceptions of ‘good work’ in the urban informal sectors of three developing countries

William Monteith, Lena Giesbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is growing interest in the ability of the informal sector to provide gainful work in much of the developing world. However, the literature on work in the informal sector remains dominated by resource- and rights-based approaches, which fail to consider the features of work valued by informal workers themselves. This article investigates perceptions of ‘good work’ based on focus group discussions with informal workers in the capitals of Uganda, Burkina Faso and Sri Lanka. Using the capability approach as a framework, it reveals that informal workers value a combination of instrumental features of work, such as income and working hours, and intrinsic aspects, such as relationships and recognition. The article’s findings contribute to debates on quality of work in formal and informal contexts by illustrating the role of social and environmental conversion factors, including gender and class relations, in mediating the relationship between work and well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-833
JournalWork, Employment & Society
Volume31
Issue number5
Early online date1 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

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