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Changing Contours of Work
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Changing Contours of Work
Jobs and Opportunities in the New Economy

Fourth Edition
  • Stephen Sweet - Ithaca College, Boston College, Cornell University, State University of New York at Potsdam
  • Peter Meiksins - Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio


August 2020 | 360 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The authors are proud sponsors of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Changing Contours of Work is an exploration of the American workplace in the larger context of an integrated global economy. Presented with engaging vignettes and rich data, this fourth edition shows the reader how the "old economy" is now operating within the "new economy" and how that integration shapes the development of work opportunities.

Authors Stephen Sweet and Peter Meiksins use an international comparative perspective, revealing the historical transformations of work and identifying the profound effects that these changes have had on lives, jobs, and life chances. This text supports the reader's understanding of the origins of current problems confronting working people in the new economy, and contributes to a much-needed dialogue about the strategies for liberating workers from poverty, drudgery, discrimination, stress, and exploitation.

 
List of Exhibits
 
About the Authors
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
1. Mapping the Contours of Work
Scenes From the New Economy

 
Culture and Work

 
Structure and Work

 
Agency and Careers

 
Conclusion

 
 
2. New Products, New Ways of Working, and the New Economy
A Postindustrial Society?

 
The End of Mass Production?

 
New Skills?

 
New Cultures of Control?

 
Technological Change and a Jobless Future?

 
Rigid Jobs or Flexible Jobs?

 
The End of Organized Labor?

 
A New Global Economy?

 
Conclusion

 
 
3. Economic Inequality, Social Mobility, and the New Economy
Are Economic Divides Narrowing or Widening in the United States?

 
Are Career Pathways Opening or Closing?

 
Exclusion Owing to Criminal Conviction

 
Is the Global Economy Becoming More Flat or Bumpy?

 
Conclusion

 
 
4. Whose Jobs Are Secure?
Risk and Work: Historical and Comparative Views

 
How Insecure Are Workers in the New Economy?

 
The Costs of Job Loss and Insecurity

 
Old and New Careers

 
Risk, Well-Being and Retirement

 
The Dawn of the Gig Economy

 
Conclusion

 
 
5. A Fair Day’s Work? The Intensity and Scheduling of Jobs in the New Economy
Time, Intensity, and Work

 
How Much Should We Work? Comparative Frameworks

 
Why Are Americans Working So Much?

 
Nonstandard Schedules: Jobs in a 24/7 Economy

 
How Americans Deal With Overwork

 
Conclusion

 
 
6. Gender Chasms in the New Economy
When Did Home Work Become Nonwork?

 
Women’s Participation in the Paid Labor Force in America

 
Gender Inequalities in Compensation

 
Socialization, Career Selection, and Career Paths

 
Interpersonal Discrimination in the Workplace

 
Structural Dimensions of Gender Discrimination

 
Strategies to Bridge the Care Gaps: International Comparisons

 
Conclusion

 
 
7. Race, Ethnicity, and Work: Legacies of the Past, Problems in the Present
Histories of Race, Ethnicity, and Work

 
Magnitude of Racial Inequality in the New Economy

 
Intergenerational Transmission of Resources

 
Geographic Distribution of Race and Work Opportunity

 
Racial Prejudice and Discrimination

 
Racialized Jobs

 
Race, Ethnicity, and Work: Social Policy

 
Conclusion

 
 
8. Reshaping the Contours of the New Economy
Opportunity Chasms

 
Agents of Change

 
Conclusion

 
 
Appendix: Legislative and Regulatory Time Line of Worker Rights and Protections in the United States
 
References
 
Index

“A thorough book, which is one of the best fits for this current course.”

“I believe this book is well organized. I often get positive feedback on my course surveys referring to the text.”

John Castella
Rutgers University
Review

“We adopted it as a department because it had the best overall coverage of contemporary issues explored by our major, was reasonably priced, and was quite readable.”

Paula B. Voos
Rutgers University
Review

“This insightful book offers a clear, concise, and comprehensive introduction to the history, present, and future of work in the U.S. I appreciate the accompanying graphs and charts, as well as it's engagement with race, class, and gender. The comparisons, both to work conditions in European nations and the global South, are important and eye-opening for my students.”

Hinda Seif
University of Illinois at Springfield
Review
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • Includes most recent research from the top nine leading journals on work and inequality
  • 5 new vignettes illustrate the challenges confronting workers
  • New or expanded coverage of inequality in the wake of the recession; the economic recovery and its reach; gender, race, and class divides in the workplace; and impact of technology on future job markets 
  • 30 new or updated tables, graphs, and diagrams

KEY FEATURES:

  • Provides international comparative perspectives on work and work prospects throughout the text, such as specific policies already in place in Europe that can lead to improved conditions for workers and their families
  • Considers the structure of today’s work environment and its implications for fulfillment on and off the job
  • Highlights the impact of socialization, social networks, and structural forms of discrimination
  • Addresses inequalities and divides, based on race, ethnicity, gender, and class, that inhibit opportunities for some workers

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ISBN: 9781544305691
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