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WES sans frontieres editorial (final) 2016.pdf (143.1 kB)

Work, Employment and Society sans frontières: extending and deepening our reach

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-03-31, 14:44 authored by Vanessa Beck, Paul Brook, Bob Carter, Ian Clark, Andy Danford, Nik Hammer, Shireen Kanji, Melanie Simms
Work, employment and society (WES ) was launched in 1987 in a period in which a number of features of British society were changing rapidly. The vibrancy and the optimism of the 1960s looked increasingly remote and sociology and the study of work reflected the more straitened times that came with the social transformations wrought by Thatcherism. The early 1980s had seen savage deflation, a consequent sharp contraction of the manufacturing industry and a series of set piece confrontations with unions (in the print and steel industries and on the docks) culminating in the defeat of the miners’ union after a year-long strike (1984–5). A further result was rapid contraction of the numbers of trade union members and the demoralization of those that remained. One focus of industrial sociology, shopfloor trade unionism epitomized by Beynon’s (1984) study of Ford’s Halewood plant, became difficult if not impossible to repeat. The differences to and implications for the current sociology of work are discussed in the recent WES book review symposium of Beynon’s study. Richard Brown’s editorial introduction to the first issue drew upon these societal developments to explain the rationale for the journal. Reviewing the sociology of work he noted that it had traditionally focused on male, manual workers in manufacturing industries and to a lesser extent on those who supervised and managed them, exactly the constituency hit hardest by the ongoing changes. The limitations of the focus on one gender, in one predominantly UK-based sector, became obvious with the relative and absolute decline in UK manufacturing and the new international division of labour; the growth of unemployment; the increase in women’s employment; and employer attempts to establish more flexible patterns of employment. The limitations of more traditional approaches were also heightened by developments in other areas of social science with broader concerns. …

History

Citation

Work, Employment and Society April 2016 vol. 30 no. 2 211-219

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Management

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Work

Publisher

SAGE Publications (UK and US) for British Sociological Association

issn

1469-8722

eissn

1469-8722

Acceptance date

2015-09-18

Available date

2016-03-31

Publisher version

http://wes.sagepub.com/content/30/2/211

Language

en

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