Anna Carreri (2020) Women giving up: a critical inquiry into (unsuccessful) conversion processes in neoliberal economies, Community, Work & Family, DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2020.1760209

This article develops a critical inquiry into women’s processes of renouncement in their pursuit of work- and family-oriented goals. It brings together insights from two different schools of thought: the capability approach and critical sociology. This qualitative analysis is focused on how processes of resource conversion fail to mobilise women’s resources and instead block their capabilities. The subjects of analysis are 24 paradigmatic life stories of highly educated Italian women in precarious work, who, having previously invested in the development of a professional career, then began to ‘back away’ from their initial goals following the arrival of children. This article makes three contributions: it sheds light on three multi-layered processes that prove to be unsuccessful in converting resources into the desired work-family outcomes in neoliberal economies, thus making a novel contribution to the capabilities framework; second, it shows that these processes are constructed over three different temporalities, suggesting that conversion processes abide by specific time modalities, thus moving towards a dynamic approach to capabilities; finally, it shines light on subtle but powerful mechanisms underlying the (unsuccessful) conversion processes through which the system of structural gender inequality is reproduced, thus opening up the analysis to the politics of power in action.