Work: A Critique

Front Cover
Polity, 2012 - Social Science - 197 pages
This book provides a critical overview of the myriad literatures on “work,” viewed not only as a product of the marketplace but also as a social and political construct. Drawing on theoretical and empirical contributions from sociology, history, economics, and organizational studies, the book brings together perspectives that too often remain balkanized, using each to explore the nature of work today.

Outlining the fundamental principles that unite social science thinking about work, Vallas offers an original discussion of the major theoretical perspectives that inform workplace analysis, including Marxist, interactionist, feminist, and institutionalist schools of thought. Chapters are devoted to the labor process, to workplace flexibility, to gender and racial inequalities at work, and to the link between globalization and the structure of work and authority today. Major topics include the relation between work and identity; the relation between workplace culture and managerial control; and the performance of emotional labor within service occupations.

This concise book will be invaluable to students at all levels as it explores a range of insights to make sense of pressing issues that drive the social scientific study of work today.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Capitalism Taylorism and the Problem of Labor Control
37
3 From Fordism to Flexibility?
60
Gender
86
Race Ethnicity and Diversity at Work
113
6 The Globalization of Work
133
7 Conclusion
163
Notes
170
References
173
Index
195
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Steven Peter Vallas is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University.

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