Using evidence from real cases and drawing on theories of sociology of work discuss the patterns in inequalities which can be seen in contemporary world of work. How can these patterns be explained?

Feb 15, 2024

Using evidence from real cases and drawing on theories of sociology of work discuss the patterns in inequalities which can be seen in contemporary world of work. How can these patterns be explained?

Type of assignment: Essay
Length: 3000 words (+/- 10%; abstract and reference list does not count towards wordcount)
◦ 1. Using evidence from real cases and drawing on theories of sociology of work discuss the patterns in inequalities which can be seen in contemporary world of work. How can these patterns be explained?
INEQUALITIES AT WORK
There is evidence of
unequal access to jobs, promotion and pay
asymmetrical power relations at work (owners and workers)
Class
Gender
Race and ethnicity (we covered very briefly)
Intersectionality
Sociologists explain workplace and labour market inequalities with reference to wider structural and cultural dynamics

CLASS INEQUAITIES
There are different conceptions of class
Marx – owners of the means of production and wage labour (employers and employees)
Marx emphasised the economic aspect of class
Control, management essential to extraction of labour power
Taylorism
Class divisions expressed in occupational divisions
Middle class jobs (e.g. professional occupations such as architecture, medicine)
Working class jobs (e.g. manual jobs, or other jobs not requiring higher skills)
Bourdieu – emphasises cultural aspects of class
Savage et al – class is a multi-dimensional concept (Week 8 lecture)
Sorting through economic, social and cultural capital (these are connected)
Class expressed in our habitus as individuals
Examples: Professional services, architecture, TV production, finance

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GENDER INEQUALITIES
Horizontal segregation – occupations dominated by men and women
Women are more likely to be in low paid occupations
Women’s entry – devaluation of jobs (e.g. IT, teaching, some civil service jobs)
Increased participation in the labour market – growth of service industry, pt employment
Vertical segregation – women facing a glass ceiling
Pay inequality (e.g. BBC case)
Intersectionality: inequalities based on gender, class, race, sexual orientation can overlap and multiply for some individuals
How can we explain gender inequalities?
Patriarchy – a system of oppression
Structural: women’s role in the family, weak gender equality policies, labour market expections
Cultural: norms and values about women’s role, sexual harassment in the workplace
Workplace inequalities are connected to how families and working life are organised in society

Some consequences of employment and workplace inequalities and precarisation
Alienation (Blauner and Marx)
Deskilling (Braverman)
Emotional labour (Hochschild) (effect and consequence)
Creation and reproduction of wider social divisions through employment inequalities
Examples: Airline industry, call centres, Platform work, garment industry workers, Tech industry (Google)

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