Work and Occupations
November 15, 2021
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This call invites papers for a mini conference and subsequent special issue of Work and Occupations dedicated to precarious employment and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospective contributors should submit a full paper as a single document to the conference organizers by November 15, 2021. We encourage submissions from scholars of different demographic backgrounds, nationalities, career stages, theoretical frames, and methodological orientations. All submissions must be original work that has not been previously published in part or in full. The conference organizers and special issue guest editors are Quan Mai (Rutgers University), Lijun Song (Vanderbilt University), and Rachel Donnelly (Vanderbilt University).

The authors of accepted papers will be invited to a virtual one-day mini conference where they will present their paper and receive feedback from conference organizers and other invited participants. The mini conference is scheduled to take place on Friday, January 21, 2022. Based on the conference organizers’ recommendations, discussions at the conference, and the fit with the special issue, the guest editors will invite a subset of authors to submit their papers to Work and Occupations with the expectation that their manuscripts will be published in the special issue if they pass the external peer-review process. The authors will be notified of editorial evaluations in September 2022. Last round revisions are due in early November 2022.


The special issue aims to bring together cutting-edge studies from diverse disciplinary backgrounds on precarious work and well-being during the pandemic. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • the influence of employment precarity on workers’ risk of exposure to and infection with COVID-19;
  • the influence of employment precarity on workers’ mental, physical, and socioeconomic well-being;
  • changes in employment precarity during the pandemic and subsequent short- and long-term consequences for well-being;
  • the influence of employment precarity on workers’ healthcare accessibility and utilization;
  • individual and family adaptations to the risks of unemployment and illness;
  • the influence of employment precarity and risk of illness on social relationships between co-workers and between front-line workers and customers/patients;
  • public policy adaptations to mitigate the risks of unemployment, precarious employment, and illness;
  • employer and labor union interventions to mitigate the risks of unemployment and illness; and
  • social disparities (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class) and global variations in all the above themes.

Prospective contributors are welcome to consult with any of the conference organizers and guest editors about the potential fit of their projects. To submit your paper, please email it to  by November 15, 2021.