Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The Power of the Powerless: Constructions of Self‐Employment in Czechia

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Abstract:  This article examines the construction of self‐employment in public policy debates, focusing on how political actors define self‐employment and on the moral implications of these categorisations. Employing critical discourse analysis and the social construction of a target population, the authors examine verbatim transcripts of parliamentary debates in the Czech parliament between 2021 and 2023. These debates reveal how legislators perceive the value of self‐employment as a part of the economy. The study explores the underpinnings of such public policy debates, as well as the moral consequences of categorising self‐employment. We argue that by foregrounding some morally loaded argumentations and, in particular, discursive constructions, politicians (as both discursive and policy actors) make some parts of the experience of self‐employment invisible and neglected by policy; as a result, this contributes to the precarity of the self‐employed.

Keywords:  critical discourse analysis; neoliberal entrepreneurship ideal; self‐employment; social construction of target population



© Ivana Lukeš Rybanská, Karel Čada. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.