UPSC SOCIOLOGY MAINS Syllabus – Paper 1 -Chapter 6 – WORK AND ECONOMIC LIFE
- Work, from a sociological perspective, is anything that a person undertakes with a goal of being productive in a way that meets human needs.
- But in economic sociology, it is generally an activity which results in paid employment, reward or contract.
- In man’s earliest endeavors, work was performed for the sole purpose of survival; hunting, gathering and shelter building.
- In ancient civilizations work was seen as menial tasks that stole one’s ability to think.
- During the Reformation (1500s), work became a badge of honor in itself.
- At the start of the industrial revolution workers had to work long hours in less-than-ideal working conditions.
- In modern day work, the information age has created an environment where not only are workers less loyal to their employers, but they are often actively head hunted, (recruited to leave their current positions by a different company).
SOCIOLOGY OF WORK
- 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.
- Work is closely intertwined with social structures, social processes, and especially social inequality.
- The sociology of work goes back to the classical sociological theorists.
- Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber all considered the analysis of modern work to be central to the field of sociology.
- Marx was the first social theorist to really examine the conditions of work in factories that were popping up during the industrial revolution, looking at how the transition from independent craftwork to working for a boss in a factory resulted in alienation and deskilling.
- Durkheim, on the other hand, was concerned with how societies achieved stability through norms, customs, and traditions as work and industry changed during the industrial revolution.
- Weber focused on the development of new types of authority that emerged in modern bureaucratic organizations.
IMPORTANCE OF WORK
- It is a source of income and living.
- Provides direction to energy of human beings to be utilized in a constructive manner.
- It is medium of acquiring more skills and capabilities.
- It breaks the monotony of domestic life.
- Enhances opportunities of expanding social contacts and helps in building social capital. Also gives identity to a person. In industrial societies, people are known by what they do.
Over the last decades there has been a shift to what is often called ‘flexible production’ and ‘decentralization of work’. It is argued that in this period of globalization, it is the growing competition between firms and countries that makes it essential for firms to organize production suiting the
changing market conditions.