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Sociology Discipline Spotlight: Sociology of Work

By June 15, 2012

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Work, in sociology, is defined as the carrying out of tasks, which involves the expenditure of mental and physical effort, and its objective is the production of goods and services that cater to human needs. An occupation, or job, is work that is done in exchange for a regular wage or salary. The study of work, industry, and economic institutions is a major part of sociology because the economy influences all other parts of society and therefore social reproduction in general. It doesn't matter if we are talking about a hunter-gatherer society, pastoral society, agricultural society, or industrial society; all are centered around an economic system that affects all parts of society, not just personal identities and daily activities. Work is closely intertwined with social structures, social processes, and especially social inequality. A great deal of studies in the sociology of work are comparative. For instance, researchers might look at differences in employment and organizational forms across societies as well as across time. Read more about the sociology of work and what kinds of studies sociologists conduct.


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