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Week 2 Reading Sociology Section 7 (Work) Chapter 26 – “Suck it Up Buttercup”: A Culture of Acceptable Workplace Violence in Group Homes  Workplace violence – physical violence as well as psychological injuries, harassment, verbal abuse, etc. o Occurs on a daily basis for healthcare workers – patients are violent towards providers. o Often goes unpunished  Focus of article – specifically on people working in publically funded community care organizations for developmentally disabled people. o Correlates between intensity of violence and the sex, age, job category, and shifts worked by the victim. o Result: the more shifts you work, the more likely you are to experience a severe violent attack. o Workers encounter violence every day. Becomes a natural part of the work day. o Managers say that from the beginning, violence was an expected part of the job. Among them, idea that you’re supposed to suck it up and take it like a man.  Those that did suck it up end up being promoted.  Keywords: o Workplace violence  a current health and safety problem in businesses where employees are the victims of verbal and/or physical harassment from customers and/or clients. Chapter 27 – “Let’s Be Friends”: Working within an Accountability Circuit  Focuses on eligibility for Medicaid chronic care benefit.  Application process takes a ton of paperwork and effort.  New director tried to change the process to make it more user-friendly.  RESULT: things went more smoothly, and for the most part the new system worked. Chapter 28 – Profession: A Useful Concept for Sociological Analysis?  Sociological definition of profession  occupation with status and privilege. o Argument is that this definition is increasingly useless. o Thesis: profession should be defined by the self-governance and authority they were granted (esp re: training required to enter the practice) rather than status. o She reviewed legislation pertaining to several professions and occupations.  Professions  organized organizational groups with a (somewhat) accepted claim to legal and/or social status.  Differences between professions and occupations re: legislation o Professions:  Had an established regulatory body, at least partially composed of practitioners, to govern the profession  Limited the right to practise or to utilize a restricted title to those with a demonstrated level of competence. o Occupations: established a system of licensing without creating a separate regulatory body and/or competency requirements.  Historically in Canada, professions were special status groups demarcated by their training and education in a specific field, and their moral rectitude.  Keywords: o Status  refers to the standing or position that a person occupies in the social structure, such as teacher or doctor. It is often combined with the notion of the social role to produce the idea of a status role. o Status groups  Competitive groups of people who enjoy the same status and seek to preserve their monopolistic privileges by excluding their rivals from enjoyment of certain resources. o Empirical research  research that occupies a close relationship to sensory experience, observation, or experiment. Chapter 29 – Work Hard, Play Hard?: A Comparison of Male and Female Lawyers’ Time in Paid and Unpaid Work and Participation in Leisure Activities  Hypothesis 1: Greater time spent in paid and unpaid work will be negatively related to participation in leisure activities. o Men are more likely to protect their leisure time from family; women’s leisure time is more often interrupted, intertwined, and fragmented by their family.  Hypothesis 2: Women will spend more time in household and child care activities than men, whereas men will spend more time in paid work and participate in more leisure than women.  Hypothesis 3: Greater time spent in paid and unpaid work will result in a stronger negative relationship with leisure for women compared with men.  Findings: having young kids or spending more time on housework negatively impacts women’s time for leisure activities, but has no relationship to men’s.  Keywords o Role strain  Every role brings with it a number of different partners, each with their own set of expectations. When these expectations are in disagreement, sociologists talk of role strain. o Unpaid work  labour – especially care work and domestic work done by women – that earns no cash payment or wage. o Leisure  time spent not working for pay. The time used for idle, unpaid, and economically unproductive activities. Section 10 (Inequality and Stratification) Chapter 37 – Pay Equity: Yesterday’s Issue?  Pay equity  equal pay for work of equal value.  Talks about the gender wage gap and how it negatively impacts women. Also talks about historical attempts to redress it, and possible ways to keep addressing it.  Keywords o Pay equity  the term used in North America to refer to equal pay between men and women. o Gender wage gap  a difference between a man and woman’s fixed regular payment earned for work or services, typically paid on a daily or weekly basis. Chapter 38 – Red Zones, Empty Alleys, and Giant TVs: Low-Income Youths’ Spatial Accounts of Olympic Host Cities  Paper explores the manner in which low-income youth experience the effects of spectacle in Vancouver during the 2012 Winter Olympics and right before. The unequal spatial distributions that become intensified during spectacular neo-liberal mega-events like the Olympics.  Argues that the Olympics both marginalized street youth and co. by pushing them into areas where they wouldn’t be seen by affluent tourists, and allowed them to linger in places they otherwise wouldn’t have been allowed to be due to public scrutiny on the police and how they treat the street youth.  Keywords o Focus groups  A qualitative method of data collection that involves interactive discussion among a small number of people. o Mega-events  high profile, one-time events of a limited duration hosted by a city that receives global media attention. Mega-events typically circulate among host cities rather than recurring in the same city multiple times. The Calgary Stampede, for example, is not a mega- event. The frequency of a mega-event is often determined by a fixed schedule, such as the four-year cycle of the Winter and Summer Olympic games. o Red zone  an area that the police have designated as out of bounds to particular youth who have been banished by police for partaking in illegitimate (though not always criminal) behaviour. o Zone of prestige  a culturally impressive institution or space that a city uses to boost its reputation both nationally and globally. Chapter 39 – Parents and Traffic Safety: Unequal Risks and Responsibilities to and from School  Paper compares two schools in Vancouver and parents’ concerns about traffic danger in their kids’ school journey. Explores how lower income and gender differences influence risk.  Argues that society has taken the responsibility for road accidents and preventing them away from motorists and has placed it on children and parents (i.e. pedestrians).  Lower income school – parents worry about the trucks that drive on nearby roads and their speed and lack of attention to traffic signals.  Higher income school – parents worry about other parents trying to drop of their kids to school and how crazy the school zone gets during drop off and pick up times.  Keywords o Parental traffic safeguarding  the ways in which parents protect their children’s diverse mobilities from the dangers of motorized traffic in variable social and automobilized environment o Class  The relative location of a person or group within a larger society, based on wealth, power, prestige, or other valued resources. o Fieldwork  Data collection for any study that involves talking to people or asking them questions about their activities and views, sometimes including attempts at systematic observation of their behaviour. Fieldwork ranges from large-scale survey interviewing by hundreds of professional interviewers to the lone researcher recording information collected through participant observation in a small-scale case study. Chapter 40 – Municipal Malaise: Neo-Liberal Urbanism in Canada  Neo-liberal urbanism  a range of uneven processes unfolding in the urban environments in which we live and work. E.g. Privatization, restructuring, and elimination of public goods and municipal services, cutbacks and the like to public services, etc.  Federal and provincial gov’ts try to limit their spending and balance their budgets by pushing service providing onto municipal governments, despite the fact that municipalities can’t afford to provide these services (and they have much fewer means of gaining income – including taxes).  As a result, municipalities offload their costs onto the workers of the service sector – e.g. by slashing pension plans, decreasing paid leave times, contracting out to the private sector, etc. Simultaneously, they fight a PR battle where the workers are made out to be the Big Bad.  Need to start to challenge the “common sense” of neo-liberal urbanism and move towards a more socialist public sector. Stop demonizing unions and those who work in the public sector, and start placing greater responsibility on businesses and the like to provide properly for people.  Keywords o Neo-liberal urbanism  a range of uneven processes unfolding in the urban environment in which we live and work. Starting Points Chapter 9 – Classes and Workplaces Chapter Outline  Class  According to Marx, a group of people who share the same relationship to the means of production or to capital; according to Weber, a group of people who share a common economic situation, based on (among other things) income, property, and authority.  Marx – says capitalism alienates workers, isolating and estranging them from their work, the products of their work, their fellow workers, and from themselves. Functionalism  Workplace inequalities often translate into broader social and economic inequalities.  Functionalist – might argue that poverty and inequality serve important purposes in society. Poverty motivates people to work harder to move up the ladder. o Highest rungs of the ladder require most education and effort, and thus have the greatest reward o Highest jobs also are the most socially useful and valued. o i.e. inequality = good because it brings out excellence and productivity. o BUT: investments and compensation aren’t always in balance – e.g. huge wages of athletes, pop stars, etc. vs. low salaries of nurses, teachers, etc. o Unemployment = sign of personal failure.  Functionalists also argue that everyone needs work to satisfy both physical needs (i.e. for shelter, etc.) and for emotional needs – to be productive and valued members of society, etc. o So work has social and economic purposes. Critical Theory  Critical theory – typically relies on ideas of Marx and Weber. Focused on class conflict in industrial economies. Look for power inequalities and exploitation. Who benefits from the way power is organized in society, esp in the workplace? o Unemployment is a structural condition manipulated by the ruling capitalist class to boost profits. o Marx – capitalism produces cyclic unemployment. Workers suffer the most from these booms and busts. o Unemployment also lets employers threaten workers who demand too much.  Reserve army of labour  People who, because they are impoverished and often unemployed, form an easily mobilized, easily disposable workforce at the mercy of employers. o Anyone who protests is simply replaced. o RESULT: capitalists use the unemployed to prevent or quash labour unrest.  Marx – says class relations under capitalism cause all the conflict within and between societies. Opposing interests lead to two classes who are locked in a conflict, played out in the workplace.  Workplace as a place for repression and mistreatment, in which some groups of workers are even more vulnerable than others. Feminist Theories  Women are disproportionately working in low or non-paying jobs. As a result, capitalists profit from the hard work of women even more than they profit from men. Men often profit at the expense of women who work for them. Symbolic Interactionism  Focus on the ways that meanings are attached to social inequality. E.g. how labels “wealthy” and “poor” are constructed through social interaction. o i.e. stereotype of the lazy, shiftless minority member living off of welfare vs. the posh and snobby white person living off of the trust fund mommy and daddy provided.  Also focus on the meanings of work and unemployment for the individual. Work as a major part of our identity and what that means to both employed and unemployed people. Social Constructionism  Ask “How did the arrangement emerge?”  Interested in charting the changes in ideologies about work and worker control. i.e. the evolution of popular thinking about work.  Edwards: historically, management practices evolved from simple/direct control, to technological control, to bureaucratic control. As people developed ways to thwart that control, managers developed new methods to keep people under their thumb. Classic Studies: Labour and Monopoly Capital (Harry Braverman)  Explores the evolution of capitalist production over the last two centuries.  Argues that while demanding ever higher levels of education and expertise, work is becoming ever more mindless, bureaucratic, and alienating. o Goal of management under capitalism isn’t to humanize work but to lower labour costs and increase efficiency to improve the firm’s ability
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