The sociology of work: Where have the workers gone?
Over the past 50 years, the field of industrial sociology (work and occupations) has shifted its focus from work and workers to economic concerns, and has transformed our conception of the worker from a social actor to a passive object acted on by macrolevel forces. The transformation took place in roughly three identifiable stages: an early period from the 1930s through the 1950s, a transitional period in the 1960s, and a recent period from 1970 on. Research in the early period emphasized the impact of social relations in the workplace and community on work and workers; the focus in middle period zvas on subjective states of workers; and in the last period economic conceptions of work and workers have defined research questions. The shifts have been brought about in part by changing interdisciplinary influences, from anthropology and psychology in the early years to economics in the recent period, which have introduced new topics and reconceptualized old ones. © 1989 The University of North Carolina Press.
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