Complex Worker: Self-Concept and Boundary-Work Among the Solo Self-Employed

Tal Kapelinsky, Avihu Shoshana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article proposes to examine the self-concept of members of an occupational category referred to as the “solo self-employed”—women and men who work alone and do not employ other workers. Our findings reveal that although the solo self-employed themselves do not make clear phenomenological use of the solo-self-employed category, they do speak similarly about their occupational independence, albeit without group awareness. The self-concept of the solo self-employed is mainly based on boundary work in relation to two well-known cultural-occupational categories: “employed workers” and “businesspeople.” Solo-employed workers prefer to distance themselves from these two categories and define themselves through negative comparisons between themselves and the two preceding categories. The Discussion section proposes perceiving solo self-employment as a social category that constructs an alternative self in relation to the selves associated with popular cultural-occupational scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages18
JournalSociological Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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