Section 7 (Work)
Chapter 26 – “Suck it Up Buttercup”: A Culture of Acceptable Workplace Violence in
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Workplace inequalities often translate into broader social and economic
Functionalist – might argue that poverty and inequality serve important
purposes in society. Poverty motivates people to work harder to move up the
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
o BUT: investments and compensation aren’t always in balance – e.g.
huge wages of athletes, pop stars, etc. vs. low salaries of nurses,
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 – 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
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
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.
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
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.
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