Confronting the challenges of work today: new horizons and perspectives

Parry, Jane, Taylor, Rebecca, Pettinger, Lynne and Glucksmann, Miriam (2006) Confronting the challenges of work today: new horizons and perspectives. In, Parry, Jane, Taylor, Rebecca, Pettinger, Lynne and Glucksmann, Miriam (eds.) A New Sociology of Work? Oxford, GB, Blackwell, 3-18. (The Sociological Review Monographs).


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Introductory chapter to edited collection, setting out our perspective:

The central aim of this publication is to initiate and develop an empirically grounded understanding of the nature, dimensions, and relations of different forms of work. Work is not assumed to be a discrete activity carried out in exchange for remuneration in institutions (although it can be) but, rather, is conceptualized as being embedded in other domains and entangled in other sorts of social relations. To be clear, it is not suggested that employment is no longer a relevant category. Indeed paid work and employment remain critical to debates within the sociology of work. However, we argue that these may be better illuminated when conceptualized in the context of a broader understanding of what constitutes work. A perception of the variety of ways that people engage in work in contemporary society could offer a more accurate depiction of the complex, messy, dynamic trajectories that encapsulate people’s working lives. From this perspective for example, life-stages not normally associated with work, such as time spent in education, retirement or unemployment, take on new interest for the sociologist of work.

Most crucially, the project has far-reaching implications for how we understand social inequalities. A movement away from the ?xed boundaries of occupation, for example, raises new questions about the relationship between work and social class, and between work and gender relations, and ethnic and agebased differences. Occupation may indicate class position but class position also de?nes orientation to work in its broadest forms – from domestic labour to voluntary work. A New Sociology of Work? foregrounds the way in which inequalities manifested in one domain have a re-iterative relationship with behaviours and values in another domain.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 9781405139038 (paperback)
140513903 (paperback)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Social Sciences > Sociology & Social Policy
ePrint ID: 208495
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
2 March 2006Published
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2012 15:23
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:49

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