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Chapter 11

Sociology 2140 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, Foreign Corporation, Child Prostitution

Course Code
SOC 2140
Paul Whitehead

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11- Work and Unemployment
12:17 PM
Global economy: interconnected network of economic activity that transcends national borders
Jobs, products, services and national policies/ agendas all influenced by economic activity world-
Economic institution: structure and means by which a society produces, distributes and consumes
goods and services
1999, 11/15 European Union Nations created the common "euro", initially brought power to weak
currencies and later increased debt
o When states rather than industries held accountable for financial collapse citizens pay the
o Deutschmann suggest nations most financially weak would not have been in such large-scale
diff if they maintained their own currency
o Micro-currencies used locally supported by the euro are good for trade may benefit
Capitalism and Socialism
Principal economic systems in the world are capitalism and socialism
Capitalism: private individuals/groups invest capital to produce goods/services for a profit, in a
competitive market
o Characterised by economic motivation through profit, determining process through
supply/demand, no governmental intervention in economy
o Created alienated workers, poor working conditions, near-poverty wages, unemployment,
polluted/depleted environment, world conflict over resources
"Pure Capitalism"- "hands off" exists only when market forces can operate without interference
from gov't
"State Capitalism"- private citizens own the means of production and pursue profits, but do so
within vast set of laws that protect the welfare of the population
Socialism: economic ideology emphasizes public rather than private ownership. Theoretically
goods/services are equitably distributed according to needs of citizens
Capitalism emphasizes individual freedom, socialism emphasizes social equity, advocates for one
argue its for economic well-being for society and members , in reality both fail to fulfill promises
Standard of living and economic inequality is higher in capitalist countries
Convergence hypothesis: capitalist and socialist countries will adopt elements of each other,
o Economies of Germany, France and Sweden- "integrated economies"
Corporate Multinationalism
Corporate Multinationalism: corporations having their home base in one country and
branches/affiliates in other
Allows businesses to vapid imports tariffs, costs associated with transporting goods, access to raw
materials, cheap labour, avoidance of gov't regulations/ labour laws
Provides jobs for managers, secures profits for investors and helps CAN compete in global
economy has detrimental consequences- poverty, factories moving, ethnic tensions in competing
for jobs
Concern for loss of national identity in the less developed countries, Canadian operations serve
their own best interests not those of Canada and multinationals show no loyalty to CAN hen the
demand of their product falls or a cheaper source is found elsewhere

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Industrialization, Post industrialization, and the Changing Nature of Work
Industrial Revolution: period b/w the mid18th century and early 19th when machines/factories
became the primary means for producing goods - England
o Altered nature of work machines replaced hand tools and steam/gasoline/electric power
replaced human/animal
o Led to development of mass-production assembly lines, increased labour
o Factories led to large cities, instead of family centred agriculture work, people worked
outside the home
Posindustrialization: shift from industrialized economy dominated by manufacturing jobs to
economy dominated by service-orientated, information-intensive occupations
o Characterized by highly educated workforce, automated/computerized production
methods, increased gov't involved in economic issues, higher standard of living
Three fundamental work sectors based on types of goods services produced
o Primary- involves production of raw materials/food goods, developing countries 60% work
in agriculture CAN <3%
o Secondary- production of manufactured goods from raw materials (EX: paper from wood)
o Tertiary- professional, managerial, technical-support, service jobs
Transition to post-industrial society make by decrease manufacturing & increase in service, info-
technology jobs
1991-2001 ~1/2 growth in CAN labour force occurred in highly skilled occupations,
o top 10 disappearing jobs were; typist, typesetter, watch/clock repairer, statistical clerk,
fisher, teller, telephone operator, tool/die maker, farmer, locomotive operator
o Top 10 growth; in-home nurse, nurse practioner, physician, teacher, special edu,
pharmacist, physiotherapist
CAN increasingly looked to immigration as a source of skills/knowledge, 2001, 25-65yr immigrants
who arrived in 1990's represented 24% of workforce in highly skilled occupations
New immigrants worked highly in info-technology, engineering and natural sciences
Brain Drain: phenomenon whereby many individuals with the highest level of skill and education
leave the country in search of work abroad
The Age of Information Technology
Idea we live in an "information age" popular- new conditions of work, managing and relaying info
Inability to shut off the connect to work - blackberry's allow workplace anywhere worker goes
Technostress: stress arises specifically from having too many tasks to perform simultaneously,
while keeping up with perpetually changing demands to operate new/emerging technologies with
IT bring new problems and benefits to postsecondary education - students feel education is
"always open" ad professors feel pressured to spend large amounts of time interacting with
Constant change in technologies result in 3 problems in workplace
o Requires workers to alter skill set constantly
o Skills workers learn tend to be in the area of specific applications rather than in problem
solving and decision making, not transferable
o Workers in higher positions tend to receive more training/ skill upgrading than those in
lower ranks
Use of technologies in production can promote deskilling of jobs as labours are replaced with
automated machines

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Structural functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic internationalism serve as theoretical lenses
through which we better understand work/economic issues
Structural-Functionalism Perspective
Holds that economic institution is one of the most imp social institutions, providing necessities
including food, clothing and shelter contributing to social stability
After basic survival needs met, surplus materials and wealth may be allocated to other social uses-
maintaining military protection, supporting political/religious leaders, formal edu,
supporting/expanding pop'n, entertainment and recreation
Although functional for society elements are dysfunctional- before industrialization low division
of labour in few work roles available, limited work roles meant societies members shared similar
roles thus developed similar norms and values
Industrial societies have many work roles, high division of labour cohesion is based not on
similarity of people but interdependence- need skills and services others provide
Anomie: lack of common norms/values is which leads to a state of normlessness- linked to variety
of social problems, crime addiction & violence
Conflict Perspective
Marx- Capitalism is responsible for inequality/conflict between societies
Ruling class controls economic system for own benefit and exploits/oppresses the working masses
Capitalism benefits elite class controls not only the economy but aspects like- media, politics, law,
edu, religion
Corporate power reflected in politics of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and world bank
pressures developing countries to pen their economies to foreign corporations leads to debt
o IMF uses debt leverage to force gov't around the world to give big corporations/billionaires
everything they want so they will locate in their countries
North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) and General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
benefit corporations, provide grater access to foreign markers at expense of workers - allow
corporations to do what they want
According to CP work health promotion policies, work family policies are not result of
altruistic/humanitarian concern for workers well-being rather corporate leaders recognize they
result in higher job productivity/lower health care costs- thus good for bottom line
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
Work role is a central part of a persons identity - identifying someone as a truck driver vs. doctor
provides different social meaning
Title of a persons work gives meaning and self-worth to the ind, a job provides the most imp
status for most ppl
Distribution of economic compensation may become primary measure of self-worth obtained
through another's recognition of ones values
SI perspective - definitions and meanings influence behaviour, EX: child labour
Emphasizes that aptitudes/behaviours are influenced by interaction with others
o Workplace- employers and managers concerned with using interaction techniques that
achieve desired attitudes/behaviours from employees
Feminist Perspective
Liberal feminists focus on policy initiatives ensuring equal pay for equal work, family-work balance
and child-labour concerns
Illuminates constraints of gender-role divisions b/w the public/private worlds of paid employment
and domestic work- distinction based on class presumptions about gender roles
Discrimination management: individual efforts to prevent being targeted for discriminatory
behaviours in the workplace
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