The WIP team is delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Christine Williams, professor and chair of the sociology department at the University of Texas at Austin.
Christine has published leading research on discrimination, homophobia, and sexual harassment in a wide variety of workplace settings. Her most recent book is Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping, and Social Inequality (University of California Press).
Christine has already posted on WIP three times as a guest contributor, on upgrading jobs in the retail industry, gender and intersectionality, and the financial crisis and graduate research in sociology. Her first post as a regular contributor, she discusses how irregular work schedules operate as a mechanism to reproduce gender and racial inequality in the workplace.
We are posting a four-part panel today, with five sociologists providing a health check on the sociology of work. Chris Warhurst begins the panel by noting that the inability of mainstream economics to predict or explain the 2007-8 financial crisis might provide an opening for the sociology of work to become more influential. Yet, across the UK and Australia, the study of work has been eclipsed in sociology by cultural and gender studies. Chris wonders if part of the problem is the lack of good ethnographic research by sociologists on knowledge workers like investment bankers.
Unfinished Business: Paid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy by Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman (Cornell, 2014).
This book analyzes the history of California’s decade-old paid family leave program, the first of its kind in the United States, which began operating in 2004. Based on original fieldwork and surveys of employers, workers, and the larger California adult population, it analyzes the impact of paid family leave on employers and workers in the most populous state in the U.S., and explores the implications for crafting future work-family policy for other states and for the nation as a whole.
The WIP team is delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Doris Ruth Eikhof, Lecturer in Work and Organisation Studies at Stirling Management School, University of Stirling.
Doris has published leading research on creative workers and industries and work-life balance.
In her first post here, Doris discusses the rise of “mumpreneurship” — mothers running parenting-focused businesses from out of their homes — and asks is this is actually a form of female empowerment or a step forward for gender equality in the labor market.
The current issue of the journal New Technology, Work and Employment features two articles on Foxconn in China, both of which are free for one month.
As described in the editorial to the issue by Debra Howcroft and Phil Taylor:
“These papers in different ways are concerned with the production of electronic consumables by Foxconn,the Taiwanese-owned multinational supplier, which is China’s leading exporter. … The first of the articles provides the remarkable testimony of Tian Yu, a young female migrant worker, who attempted suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of her dormitory accommodation. Tian’s account has been crafted with great skill and sympathy by Jenny Chan.”
“The second article locates this narrative in the broader political-economic context of the buyer-driven value chain, in which Apple establishes parameters and control over price-setting, production processes and product delivery from its suppliers, notably Foxconn. Based on extensive fieldwork and thorough documentary analysis, Chan, Ngai and Selden analyse the consequences of this asymmetrical power relationship.As the scale of production has ramped up, Apple’s ‘value capture’ and profits have soared while Foxconn’s margins have flatlined, the outcome being massive intensification of work and a harsh workplace managerial regime.”
The Work-Family Interface: An Introduction by Stephen Sweet (SAGE, 2013).
I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book The Work-Family Interface: An Introduction (Sage 2014). While there are so many good books and articles about work and family, I observed difficulties in locating an engaging narrative that succinctly explained the concepts and perspectives central to “work-family” scholarship. So this book is designed to fill that gap and help instructors orient students (and other interested individuals) to the ways that home and jobs intersect. Included in my discussions are the impacts that institutional arrangements have on lives, capacities to provide and receive care, family formation, business effectiveness, and sustainability. It is also designed to demonstrate the connectedness of families across the world in the global economy. The Work-Family Interface highlights policy paths taken, and those not taken, and the consequences that can be observed by comparing the United States with other societies.