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any activity engaged in for wages or salary In sociology, there has always been a healthy scepticism about the simple equating of paid employment with work, yet in the wider society the prevailing meaning of the word is just that – so, ‘an active woman, running a house and bringing up children, is distinguished from a woman who works: that is to say, takes paid employment’ (R. Williams, 1976).

Sociologists have long been aware that WAGE LABOUR, to give its technical name, is only a particular form of work, gaining its centrality and definition from the specific set of productive relations which occurs within capitalist, market-exchange economies. Work, in such societies, is identified with employment, which involves ‘the sale and purchase of labour power as a commodity in a market, resulting in the direction of activity during “working hours” by persons who have acquired the right to do so by virtue of the labour contract’ (Purcell, 1986). See also PRODUCTIVE AND UNPRODUCTIVE LABOUR, LABOUR THEORY OF VALUE, SOCIOLOGY OF WORK, PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SPHERES, DOMESTIC LABOUR.

References in classic literature ?
From his book, entitled "The Battles of Labor," is quoted the declaration that "in some of the great historic strikes the employers themselves have instigated acts of violence;" that manufacturers have deliberately provoked strikes in order to get rid of surplus stock; and that freight cars have been burned by employers' agents during railroad strikes in order to increase disorder.
The end will come when our demands are satisfied, and our demands will be satisfied when we have starved our employers into submission, as we ourselves in the past have often been starved into submission.
We stopped to read another proclamation: "When we think our employers are ready to submit we shall open up the telegraphs and place the employers' associations of the United States in communication.
There hadn't been any employers left in San Francisco, but General Folsom had spoken for them.
His employers (acting under a sense of their obligation to the gentleman by whom Frank had been recommended) had considered the question carefully, and had decided that the one promising use to which they could put Mr.
During that year, Frank was to remain at the office in London; his employers being informed beforehand that family circumstances prevented his accepting their offer of employment in China.
During that period,--being much trusted and favored by his employer,--he had free liberty to come and go at discretion.
After the birth of little Harry, however, she had gradually become tranquillized and settled; and every bleeding tie and throbbing nerve, once more entwined with that little life, seemed to become sound and healthful, and Eliza was a happy woman up to the time that her husband was rudely torn from his kind employer, and brought under the iron sway of his legal owner.
He and the professor were talking in the workshop of the remarkable progress of Number Thirteen toward a complete mastery of English and the ways and manners of society, in which von Horn had been assisting his employer to train the young giant.
To keep her attention steadily fixed on the one subject that interested her employer, and to resist the temptation to read those miscellaneous items of news which especially interest women, put her patience and resolution to a merciless test.
Nor would her employer consent to let her work by the piece, at which the dear child might have earned at least thirty sous, for she discovered that she had to deal with a person of conscience, and that in no mode could as much be possibly extracted from the assistant, as by confiding to her own honor.
This exquisite piece of human ingenuity had originally cost five louis d'or, and Adrienne had once shown it to her employer, who had generously offered to give two napoleons for it.

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