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The Sociology of Work

The Sociology of Work
Continuity and Change in Paid and Unpaid Work

Second Edition
Additional resources:

December 2011 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"A highly readable and approachable account of the sociology of work... a first-rate introductory text that is sure to become essential reading for students, teachers, and researchers."
- Jason Hughes, Brunel University

"An excellent text. Its comparative and historical sweep is particularly welcome and the analysis provided is thoughtful and well grounded."
- John Eldridge
, University of Glasgow

"An invaluable and up-to-date text for students and researchers. Detailed and wide-ranging in its scope it is an excellent source of materials combined with a thought provoking and challenging set of arguments."
- Huw Beynon
, Cardiff University

Stephen Edgell's book charts the rise of 'work' and explores all aspects of work including paid and unpaid, standard and non-standard and unemployment. New material has been incorporated covering the theories and practices of globalization, interactive service work, economic crisis, technological and organizational change, and trade unions. Drawing on classic and contemporary theorists, the book:

  • Covers key issues regarding paid industrial and service sector work: alienation, skill, post-industrial society, network enterprises, flexibility, Fordism, neo-Fordism, post-Fordism, McDonaldization, emotional labour, destandardization and the social impact of unemployment.
  • Discusses key issues regarding non-paid work: domestic work as 'work', the impact of technology, symmetrical family thesis, the impact of feminism, and globalization.
  • Provides student friendly pedagogy: suggestions for further reading, questions for discussion and assessment, an extensive glossary and links to key websites and downloadable articles.

This latest edition will be welcomed by lecturers and students wanting an authoritative guide to the sociology of work.

Chapter 1: The Historical Transformation of Work
Work in pre-industrial societies  
Work in industrial capitalist societies  
Main features of work in industrial capitalist societies  
Capitalist industrialization and the primacy of work  
Crises and industrial capitalism  
Technological and organizational change  
The rise of trade unions  
Women and work in the development of industrial capitalism  
The dominant conception of work in industrial capitalism  
Chapter 2: Work and Alienation
Marx's theory of alienation  
Blauner's technology and alienation thesis  
Critique of Blauner's technology and alienation thesis  
Empirical research on the Blauner thesis  
Chapter 3: Work and Deskilling
Braverman's deskilling thesis  
Critique of Braverman's deskilling thesis  
Braverman's supporters  
Chapter 4: Work, Upskilling and Polarization
Bell's upskilling thesis  
Critique of Bell's upskilling thesis  
Bell`s supporters  
The polarization of skill?  
Chapter 5: Industrial Work: Fordism, Neo-Fordism and Post-Fordism
The rise of Fordism  
The development of Fordism beyond the workplace  
The decline of Fordism  
Solutions to the crisis of Fordism: neo-Fordism and post-Fordism  
Chapter 6: Service Work: Fordism, Neo-Fordism and Post-Fordism
Interactive service work  
The rise of Fordism and interactive service work  
Interactive service work: neo-Fordism and post-Fordism  
Knowledge work and the Fordist model of change  
Chapter 7: Non-Standard Work
The destandardization of work thesis  
Contractural destandardization: self-employment  
Spatial destandardization: homeworking  
Temporal destandardization: temporary and part time work  
Critical evaluation of the destandardization thesis  
Chapter 8: Out of Work: Unemployment
Unemployment: meaning and measurement  
Jahoda`s deprivation theory of unemployment  
Class, age and gender, and the impact of unemployment  
Critical evaluation of Jahoda`s deprivation theory of unemployment  
Chapter 9: Domestic Work
The sociology of domestic work  
Domestic work: conditions and technology  
The symmetrical family thesis  
Critical evaluation of the symmetrical family thesis  
Explanations of the unequal division of domestic labour  
Outsourcing domestic work  
Chapter 10: Globalization: Paid and Unpaid Work
Causes of globalization  
Globalization in action: call centres  
The transformation of paid work?  
The transformation of unpaid work?  
Concluding remarks: continuity and change and `work`  

A very good book looking at the Sociological side of work.

Dr David Biggs
School of Health & Social Sciences, Gloucestershire University
November 6, 2012

This book contains issues we are working to include in our master's program within this course and in others.

Dr Marja-Liisa Trux
Dept. of Management and International Business / Organization and Management, Aalto University School of Economics
August 20, 2012

Clear and easy to follow

Mrs Gillian Bishop
Department of Management & Marketing, Huddersfield University
August 15, 2012

Having used the first edition from the inception of this module, am updating to the considerably improved second edition of this excellent and accessible text.

Dr Malcolm D Richardson
School of Health & Social Sciences, Middlesex University
June 19, 2012

Very good and will continue to be used with undergraduates over the coming academic year.

Useful new edition covering all the important areas. May benefit from additions to continuopus text

Dr Hugh Lee
Please select your department, Please select your institution
May 29, 2012

Good basic book with relevant updating.

Professor Tuomo Takala
School of Business & Economics, University of Jyvaskyla
May 3, 2012

The DProf programme involves senior practitioners engaging in work-based projects. This text will be an introductory supplementary one to help them investigate the conceptualisation of the world of work where their professional practices are embedded.

Dr Mehmet Ali Dikerdem
Interdiscipline , Middlesex University
April 13, 2012

Stephen Edgell

Stephen Edgell is a Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Salford, England. He has undertaken qualitative research Middle Class Couples: A Study of Segregation, Domination and Inequality in Marriage (Allen & Unwin, 1980), quantitative research A Measure of Thatcherism: A Sociology of Britain (Unwin Hyman, 1991, co-author Vic Duke), and archival research Veblen in Perspective: His Life and Thought (Taylor & Francis, 2001), and has published numerous articles in a wide-range of British, American and European social science journals. A career-long interest in the sociology of work culminated in the publication of a... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781849204132
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