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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


April 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 to the Fourth Edition
 
Acknowledgments
 
1. Mapping the Contours of Work
Scenes From the New Economy

 
Culture and Work

 
Structure and Work

 
Class Structures

 
Job Markets and Job Demands

 
Demography and the New Labor Force

 
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?

 
Interpersonal Skills in the Workplace

 
High-Tech Work

 
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?

 
Missing Rungs in the Ladder

 
Entry Points: Securing the Good Job in Young Adulthood

 
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

 
The Devaluation of “Women’s Work”

 
How Job Designs Discriminate

 
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

 
African American Exceptionality

 
The Immigrant Experience

 
Magnitude of Racial Inequality in the New Economy

 
Intergenerational Transmission of Resources

 
Race, Ethnicity, and Economic Capital

 
Race, Ethnicity, and Human Capital

 
Race, Ethnicity, and Social Capital

 
Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Capital

 
Geographic Distribution of Race and Work Opportunity

 
Racial Prejudice and Discrimination

 
Racialized Jobs

 
Race, Ethnicity, and Work: Social Policy

 
Organizational Strategies

 
Affirmative Action

 
Immigration Policy

 
Conclusion

 
 
8. Reshaping the Contours of the New Economy
Opportunity Chasms

 
Class Chasms

 
Gender Chasms

 
Racial and Ethnic Chasms

 
International Chasms

 
Agents of Change

 
Individuals

 
Activist, Advocacy, and Interest Groups

 
Unions and Organized Labor

 
Employers

 
Government

 
International Organizations and International Controls

 
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

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