sociology of work


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sociology of work

the sociological analysis of work and its organization, including unpaid as well as paid labour. The general subject matter is analysed within its wider social, comparative context, in particular its interrelations with social, economic and political institutions. GENDER, ETHNICITY and SOCIAL CLASS are central subjects (Grint, 1998). Work ideologies have also been a principle concern in relation to occupational specialization (e.g. professionalism). The central unifying theme is the DIVISION OF LABOUR. The sub-discipline has also been the focus for debates concerning LABOUR PROCESS theory, NEW TECHNOLOGIES and LABOUR MARKET analysis within sociology

The term 'sociology of work’ became the generally accepted term for this sub-discipline partly as a consequence of the influence of the Open University course People and Organizations (cf. Esland and Salaman, 1975). This development was a reaction to the limitations sociologists found with INDUSTRIAL SOCIOLOGY, in particular, the preoccupation with manufacturing industry within industrial societies in consequence limiting industrial sociologists’ ability to fully analyse many aspects of work. Examples of these, now studied in the 'sociology of work’, include the dynamics of work relations and ideologies in relation to gender and race, the organization of domestic labour within society (see SEXUAL DIVISION OF LABOUR), and the effects of underemployment and unemployment. See also EMPLOYMENT, ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY.