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Work Time: Conflict, Control, and Change

ISBN: 978-0-7456-5425-6
200 pages
May 2012, Polity
Work Time: Conflict, Control, and Change (0745654258) cover image
Work Time is a sociological overview of a complex web of relations that shapes much of our experience of work and life yet often goes without critical examination.

Cynthia Negrey examines work time past and present, exploring structural economic change and the gender division of labor to ask: what are the historical, cultural, public policy, and business sources of current work-time practices? Topics addressed include work-time reduction in the US culminating in the 40-hour statute of 1938, recent trends in annual and weekly hours, overtime, part-time work, temporary employment, work-family integration, and international comparisons. She focuses on the US in a global context and explores how a new political economy of work time is taking shape.

This book brings together existing knowledge from sociology, anthropology, history, labor economics, and family studies to answer its central question and will change the way upper-level students think about the time we devote to work.
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List of tables, figures and boxes
1 From Field to Factory and Beyond
2 Work-Time Reduction in the US
3 Current Trends
4 Work-Family, Work-Life
5 Work Time outside the U.S.
6 A New Political Economy of Work Time
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Cynthia L. Negrey is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Louisville.
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  • An engaging sociological overview of the complex web of relations that shapes our experience of work and life.
  • Focuses on an area that has previously not been explored adequately: what are the social causes and consequences of the accepted norms of working hours?
  • Covers topics such as recent trends in annual and weekly hours, overtime, part-time work, temporary employment, and work-family integration.
  • Brings together knowledge from sociology, anthropology, history, labour economics, and family studies, as well as internationally comparative material.
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"Cynthia Negrey has written an astute, thorough review of what we have learned about the issue of work time since the issue was put back on the table by Juliet Schor's The Overworked American. By placing the issue in historical context, and by providing a comparative framework for thinking about the American experience, her book succeeds in its goal of getting readers to think about how work time might be organized differently, in ways more compatible with the needs of a changing workforce."
Peter Meiksins, Cleveland State University

"Engaging and accessible, Work Time illustrates the historical development of the concept of time, then deftly weaves together the broad literature around the defining work-time innovations of our era, namely the transition to part-time, temporary, and other non-permanent forms of employment. By integrating the literature on today's work-time configurations and providing an international comparison of social policies aimed at supporting work-life balance, Negrey helps readers make sense of one of the most complex and significant issues of our times. Work Time is essential reading for students and a valuable resource for researchers, educators, and practitioners who are interested in work, gender, and the intersection of the two."
Anne Zacharias-Walsh, Solidarity Ink

"an excellent example of good sociological analysis which illuminates the underlying social characteristics of dominant institutions."
Contemporary Sociology

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