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Chapter 1

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Sociology 2169

Work and Industry The Organizations and Experience of Work Chapter One Work Definitions: best definitions are broad enough to cover capture both work in the legal and illegal market o Economists an activity that produces a good or service for the market (covers only paid work) o Tilly and Tilly (1998: 291) human effort that adds use value to goods and services use value what is produced has some value accompanied with it (can include personal and/or social work) Definition covers both paid work and domestic work Sociology the study of human society o Sociologists are interested in how work is organized and how it relates to other social institutions Work is a social activity that occurs in numerous social locations and institutions Affected by: processes of social change and produces many outcomes for people Three themes in the sociology of work: o Sociological research is concerned with the impact if social structure on people and the ways in which people shape social institutions Karl Marx believes people make their own history, but not spontaneously, under conditions they have chosen for themselves; rather on terms immediately existing, given and handed down to them People need fulfillment through work if not will fight for better working conditions, job security, and better outcomes o Link between work and social change Social scientists explored ways in which the organization of work prompts social change o Sociological research is the link between work and social inequality Work central to the production and reproduction of inequality in society Intersectional approach to inequality Terminology o The term of gender is preferred over sex Differences between men and woman shape social relations, and relations are infused with power Gender signifying the relationships of power o Term of class describes economic inequalities in society Marxists class defined at the point of production (worker vs. owner) Weberian class as a social or economic category determined by ones opportunities, life chances, and lifestyle o Race Difficult to find term that reflect people of colour have different opportunities and experiences than others in society Use people of colour over visible minority Racialization how society has constructed race to allow categorization Sociological Approaches to Work o Marxist Theory Karl Marx Alienation and exploitation Labour theory of value labour is the source of all value Ex. apple has no use unless someone picks it from a tree Work separates humans from animals Work expresses our humanity Animals work is driven by instinct Alienation: Alienated from the product they produce (do not own) No control over process of production make other From themselves or from engaging in creative activity From others drives them apart with goals Exploitation: Workers and employers have opposing interests different mindsets o Workers: reducing surplus value o Employers: increasing productivity Proletariat vs. bourgeoisie o Weberian Approach Max Weber Rationalization: process where people strive to find optimum means to reach a specific goal McDonaldization [Ritzer] trend in rationalization acts as a guide Efficiency: best means to reach a given end Calcuability: quantity over quality Predictability: same offerings, comfort Control: workers are tightly controlled o Race and gender Weber and Marx assume all workers have similar experiences Marxist feminists: men benefited from womans unpaid work in the home Dual systems theory: parallel system of gender inequality, interact into social life PRIMARY work is characterized by good wages and working conditions, opportunities for advancement and other rewards SECONDARY work is less stable and low wages with bad working conditions [usually available for females, minorities, etc..] Split labour market theory those from different backgrounds are paid differently for the same work done by others o Foucault French social thinker Relationship between power and knowledge Knowledge contributes to the exercise of power and power can produce knowledge Shifted from rule by physical force to rule by discipline Architecture and design could facilitate surveillance Ideal structure: panopticon [power is visible and unverifiable] Discipline themselves curb their own behaviour to avoid punishment or negative repercussions Explore ways of organization of work by facilitation surveillance and encourage people to be better workers Technology electronic panopticon Positive: increases productivity and efficiency Negative: people experience it o Human Capital Theory Focuses on the supply side of the labour process Investments made by workers in education and work experience Ex. those with a university degree have more human capital that those who do nit Brings rewards and economic payoffs Woman acquire less human capital than men Structural constraints Explains inequality o Other Theories Structural functionalism: society is viewed as a social system made up of many institutions that interact and contribute to the whole
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