This paper, which represents part of a broader study of the moral economy of the Norwegian welfare model, explores these issues with regard to a form of active intervention familiar to many of the unemployed in Norway and elsewhere: the “job-seeker course.” Drawing on participant observation in five separate courses and interviews with course participants and instructors in Oslo between August 2015 and August 2016, it offers a “thick description” of the job-seeker course that illuminates the ways it aims to normalize a view of the the unemployed self as a valuable commodity in need of a marketing strategy and a sales pitch. I argue that the job-seeker course, which is experienced by different participants as empowering, therapeutic, and humiliating, reinforces an active ethics of unemployment reflective of both new ideological currents and the longstanding reconciliation of work and welfare associated with the Scandinavian welfare states.

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