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The Sociology of Work, 4th Edition

Keith Grint, Darren Nixon

ISBN: 978-0-745-69661-4 June 2015 Polity 472 Pages



This leading, authoritative textbook has been carefully and substantially revised to provide the indispensable foundational resource for the sociology of work. The fourth edition has been transformed to combine unrivalled explanations of classic theories with the most cutting-edge research, data and debates.

Keith Grint and Darren Nixon examine different sociological approaches to work, emphasizing the links between social processes, institutions of employment and their social and domestic contexts. The fourth edition includes:

  • a new chapter on work and identity, exploring issues such as the rise of consumption and the cultural economy, work–life balance, the social meaning of work and unemployment;
  • a fully rewritten chapter that comprehensively reviews trends in the contemporary service economy, particularly the rise of emotional and aesthetic forms of labour and the polarization of employment in the knowledge or informational economy;
  • a new concluding chapter that examines the structure of the global economy, taking in debates around globalization, precarious labour and public sector reforms and unemployment in the wake of the financial crisis and austerity;
  • updated bibliographic references and data throughout, with particularly significant revisions to the sections on gender and work, ethnicity and work, and work technologies.
The book has been designed to support readers’ understanding of, and to develop their critical approach to, the field of ‘work’, with a range of empirical evidence and examples helping to reveal the complex picture of work–society relations. Written in a lively and accessible style, the book also provides suggestions for further reading and seminar discussion questions.

This fourth edition will continue to be essential reading for students of the sociology of work, industrial sociology, organizational behaviour and industrial relations. Students studying business and management courses with a sociological component will also find the book invaluable.

1. What is Work?
2. Work in Historical Perspective
3. Classical Approaches to Work: Marx, Durkheim and Weber
4. Contemporary Theories of Work Organization
5. Class, Industrial Conflict and the Labour Process
6. Gender, Patriarchy and Trade Unions
7. Race, Ethnicity and Labour Markets: Recruitment and the Politics of Exclusion
8. Working Technology
9. Contemporary Work: The Service Sector and the Knowledge Economy
10. The Meaning of Work in the Contemporary Economy
11. Work in the Global Economy
- A completely new chapter on work and identity, exploring issues such as the rise of consumption, work life balance, the social meaning of work and unemployment.
- A fully rewritten chapter on trends in contemporary work, examining employment sectors, working hours and job tenure, and inequality and life chances.
- A new concluding chapter on the future of work, taking in globalization, public sector reforms and unemployment in the wake of the financial crisis, and campaigns around ‘bad work’.
- Updated literature, statistics and data throughout, with particularly significant updates to the sections on gender and work, and work technologies.

"This new text provides a remarkably comprehensive overview of the world of work, rich in its coverage of diverse disciplinary perspectives, and offering historical, contemporary and future-oriented accounts of working patterns and controversies. And it does what many texts claim and few deliver – that is, it pays detailed attention to issues of gender and race as well as class."
Jill Rubery, Manchester Business School

"A magnificent new edition that manages to combine key theories, analysis of contemporary changes in the service economy and speculation about the future of work – all in an admirably accessible style. An indispensable text for students of labour geography as well as for sociologists of work and employment."
Linda McDowell, University of Oxford