Unit 1 Class Notes -...

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Topic #1: A Brief Introduction to the Sociological Study of Work 17 August 2010 I. Why study work? a. Key life experience i. Work as time consuming ii. Work as variable: what “work” is can vary dramatically 1. Across individuals 2. Over time for a particular kind of work (ex. Technological changes) b. Consequential i. Work is the primary source of income for most people (so-called “earned” income) ii. Work can and does cause a variety of harmful, physical, and mental conditions iii. Work shapes friendship patterns and even marriage partners 1. Dillard and Miller, Gender and Work : 31% of workers had been involved in an office romance 2. Valut.com: 47% of worker had at least one office romance iv. Work experiences might well change our consciousness and behavior 1. William Julius Wilson’s (1996) When Work Disappears a. Logic: assess meaning of work by seeing what happens when it disappears b. Study of impoverished areas of U.S. cities, mostly Chicago, during 1990s c. Wilson argues that a lack of work brings about… i. Social isolation ii. Lack of discipline iii. Lack of role models and social resources iv. Lack of goals v. Low self-efficacy d. Melvin Kohn’s life-long research agenda i. Position is a social structure  aspects of personality, intellectual functioning, values, self-conception v. Position in social structure: operationalized as a job
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characteristics 1. Key job characteristics: “occupational self direction” (OSD) a. Use of initiative, though, and independent judgment in work i. 3 components 1. Closeness of supervision: how much latitude supervisors allow 2. Routinization: the repetitiveness of tasks and subdivided or simplified a task is 3. Substantive complexity: the degree to which work requires independent thought and judgment ii. Most studied “outcome” 1. Intellectual (“ideational”) flecibility: the ability to cope with the cognitive demands of a complex situation a. Main component weighing various sides of an issue iii. Logic: measure job attributes and intellectual flexibility over time, and attempt to sort out causation 1. Use of longitudinal evidence is key iv. Main questions: 1. Does intellectual flexibility shape a person’s extent of occupational self-direction? a. Selection and job- molding processes i. People shape job hypothesis 2. Does occupational self- direction shape intellectual flexibility? a. Jobs shape people hypothesis v. Findings, two main patterns 1. Jobs shape people: intellectual flexibility changes
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in response to job conditions 2. Existing levels of intellectual flexibility do shape the jos people have (but much less so than the other way around) vi. An interpretative idea 1. “Learning generalization” takes place when “thinking on the job” is carried to “thinking off the job” 19 August 2010 I. Two Readings on the Meaning of Work: Newman and Rubin a. Katherine Newman’s “No Shame in My Game” i. Work as an American value 1. Employment as the big dividing line?
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This note was uploaded on 09/21/2011 for the course SOCI 3750 taught by Professor Finlay during the Spring '09 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Unit 1 Class Notes -...

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