The Sociology of Work

The Sociology of Work

THEODORE CAPLOW
Copyright Date: 1954
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 340
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt4m1
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  • Book Info
    The Sociology of Work
    Book Description:

    What are the effects of working conditions, rewards, and habits upon the institution of the family? What are the typical forms of occupational segregation, and what are the effects of such segregation upon the general society? How are the social roles appropriate to each occupation created and sustained? What social processes determine the evolution of occupational groupings and the distribution of population among them? This work, a basic study in occupational sociology, throws light on such questions as these. Professor Caplow describes the occupational system with reference to specialization, occupational status, the formation of professions, mobility, the patterning of individual careers, the occupations of women, and the prospects for continued improvement of working conditions. He draws upon hundreds of empirical studies for his discussions. The book has been warmly received by reviewers and readers. Robert Dublin commented in the American Journal of Sociology: “This volume will long stand as a sourcebook of hypotheses and thesis topics for students of industrial sociology.” Writing in the American Sociological Review, George Caspar Homans called it “a wide-ranging and hard-headed study of American jobs, their place and nature.” Robert C. Stone said in Social Forces: “The work is a major contribution to the study of social structure.” The many specialist workers who are concerned with occupational problems -- industrial and applied psychologists, personnel and guidance workers, wage economists, labor relations experts, and others -- will find this a valuable reference work. It is, of course, pertinent to the interests of general sociologists and anthropologists, and is used as a text in a number of courses in occupational sociology.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3675-8
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
    T. C.
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-8)

    The subject matter of sociology is sometimes said to be group interaction—the range of phenomena created by the interplay of social aggregates with each other and with their members. In practice, the peculiar tribe or class of philosophers called sociologists is concerned with only certain forms of interaction. The actual subject matter of investigation falls between psychology and related subjects on the one hand, which deal withindividualandorganicaspects of human behavior, and economics and political science on the other, which have to do with particularsystemsof interaction.

    These lines are not tightly drawn and should...

  5. CHAPTER 1 THE ASSIGNMENT OF WORK
    (pp. 9-29)

    All societies, even the simplest, must maintain themselves through functional skills transmitted from each generation to the next. While the amount of labor required to sustain group life varies according to resources and climate, there appear to be certain principles which govern the assignment of work functions even before the division of labor has assumed any notable importance.

    In any society, there is always alabor forcedistinct from the total population. The very young and the very old are normally excluded from the working population. Adolescents, pregnant women, cripples, chiefs, prisoners, and strangers are often excluded too. In the...

  6. CHAPTER 2 THE MEASUREMENT OF OCCUPATIONAL STATUS
    (pp. 30-58)

    Occupational position is an important factor in the determination of individual prestige and in the allocation of social privileges. There appears to be a consistent tendency for occupational identification to displace such other status-fixing attributes as ancestry, religious office, political affiliation, and personal character. Each of the three general trends which can be discerned in modern industrial society (aggregation, differentiation, rationalization) seems to lead toward increasing emphasis on the importance of the occupational label.

    One of the consequences ofaggregationis the substitution of formal organizations for informal groupings, and the substitution of regulatory mechanisms for the voluntary coordination of...

  7. CHAPTER 3 VERTICAL MOBILITY
    (pp. 59-81)

    It is customary to discuss the dynamics of occupational change in the terms first used by Pitirim Sorokin ¹ — horizontal and vertical mobility, the former signifying a change in function and the latter a change in rank.Mobilityis one of the most frequently used words in the sociological vocabulary, and one of the most confusing, so that it will be valuable to examine the theory upon which this usage rests.

    The position of an individual in any social system may be described by his rank in a hierarchical scheme of relationships, his functions as a participant in group...

  8. CHAPTER 4 OTHER MOBILITIES
    (pp. 82-99)

    In an excellent volume of autobiographies collected by the Federal Writers’ Project is the life story of a man, then in his thirties, who had started his career as a sweeper in a cotton mill just before the age of 11.¹ Thereafter, he held this series of jobs:

    Doffer boy: A mill job — taking off full quills and putting on empty ones.

    Spinner: Operating spinning machines.

    Inspector: Inspecting finished cloth.

    Calendar man: Recording the quantity of cloth produced — a white-collar job on the shop floor.

    Furniture salesman: In a small department store.

    Assistant undertaker: Learning the trade of...

  9. CHAPTER 5 OCCUPATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
    (pp. 100-123)

    The termoccupational institutionsis usually thought to refer either to the protective associations and pressure groups which are created to advance the common interests of an occupation, or to the business, governmental, and eleemosynary establishments which provide employment. These will be discussed respectively in the chapters on Occupational Ideologies and on the Sociology of the Labor Market. What we are concerned with here is simpler, but less familiar.

    The occupational milieu is best defined, not by the bylaws of unions or the personnel policies of corporations, but by a set of institutions which reflect the occupational culture. It is...

  10. CHAPTER 6 OCCUPATIONAL IDEOLOGIES
    (pp. 124-141)

    The influence of a calling on the lives of those who follow it does not cease with the five o’clock whistle, but extends beyond the shop or office to every aspect of existence. The few thorough studies of occupational milieus which extend to family life and social participation are amazingly rich in insights, and provide us with an understanding of certain social mechanisms which no studies of the general class structure are likely to distinguish. Such studies have been made of railroad men, professors, steelworkers, newspaper correspondents, actors, beggars, physicians, shipyard workers, hoboes, taxi-dancers, schoolteachers, waitresses, lumberjacks, naval officers, government...

  11. CHAPTER 7 SOCIOLOGY OF THE LABOR MARKET
    (pp. 142-180)

    The labor market — the central mechanism of social distribution in modern societies — is something of an enigma. The theory, or rather the conflicting theories, of its operation are familiar to the point of banality, yet until recent years very little was known about its actual workings, and there are still important gaps to be filled before even an elementary description can be completed. All that will be attempted here is a sketch of the main outlines. This is nothing more than a continuation of the subject of occupational institutions; but the institutions which frame the sale and purchase...

  12. CHAPTER 8 THE LABOR UNION AS AN OCCUPATIONAL ASSOCIATION
    (pp. 181-213)

    The first strike to be analyzed in an American sociological journal was a week-long strike of the Journeymen Horseshoers Local No. 6 of Philadelphia against the Master Horseshoers Protective Association Local No. 23, in June 1902. Horseshoeing was a closed-shop trade with a union stamp on every shoe. The masters were graduated journeymen, or their widows, and a four-year apprenticeship was required. The journeymen, who received a minimum wage of $3.00 per day, demanded a nine-hour day with a half-holiday on Saturday during the hot months, 50 cents an hour for overtime, and one day a year for an outing....

  13. CHAPTER 9 VOCATIONAL CHOICE
    (pp. 214-229)

    In previous chapters, we have considered the recruiting process as an activity of the occupational group. We have now to study it from the standpoint of the individual.

    Regardless of the particular setting, occupational choice can be understood in terms of two theoretical limits. At one extreme, the occupation of the father determines that of the son, and no problems of individual choice are allowed to arise. At the other, occupational functions are rigorously allocated according to individual characteristics, as determined by testing and observation. The first situation is approximated in Hindu communities where the caste system has remained intact....

  14. CHAPTER 10 OCCUPATIONS OF WOMEN
    (pp. 230-247)

    In a previous chapter, a contrast was drawn between the occupational distributions of male and female workers according to the census classification. These need further examination. As of 1950, more than a quarter of the employed women were clerical workers, about a fifth were factory operatives, and a tenth were engaged in each of four categories: saleswomen, domestic servants, other service workers, professional and semiprofessional workers, in all of which women were proportionately more numerous than men. Table B in the Appendix illustrates the concentration of women in a few occupations, and it may be useful to summarize their place...

  15. CHAPTER 11 OCCUPATION AND FAMILY
    (pp. 248-280)

    In all societies, the family system and the occupational system are closely related. The family prepares the individual for work and it is the immediate beneficiary of his labor. The working group is often coincident with the family circle and even where it is not, the work required by housekeeping engages a large part of the population. Yet occupational institutions are not identical with family institutions even among primitive people, and in the urbanized, secular, middle-class culture of today, the values of the two systems are often in sharp conflict.

    Throughout historic times, the effective family unit has usually been...

  16. CHAPTER 12 WORKING CONDITIONS
    (pp. 281-290)

    The social consequences of the division of labor are closely related to the rapid and continuous improvement in productivity which has taken place in recent times. This improvement has long been estimated to amount to about 3 per cent compounded annually for the American economy as a whole. It is a familiar fact that there are extreme variations in the improvement of output from one kind of production to another and that these variations have important social consequences. They arise not only from differences in technological development but also from the circumstance that some kinds of labor are much less...

  17. APPENDIX. A BRIEF STATISTICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE AMERICAN LABOR FORCE
    (pp. 293-302)
  18. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 303-322)
  19. OCCUPATIONAL INDEX
    (pp. 323-325)
  20. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 326-330)