Bodies at Work by Carol Wolkowitz

By Carol Wolkowitz

After studying this booklet will probably be more challenging to ''do'' the sociology of labor and the sociology of the physique within the absence of the opposite. In a few relatively beautiful methods it throws down a problem which practitioners in either fields will locate tough to disregard' - Paul Stewart, former editor of labor, Employment and Society, college of the West of England

Bodies at paintings offers the 1st full-length, available account of the body/work relation in modern western societies. Bringing jointly fields of sociology that experience hitherto constructed ordinarily alongside separate strains, the e-book demonstrates the relevance of ideas built within the sociology of the physique for enriching our figuring out of adjusting styles of labor and employment.

Bodies at paintings starts off by means of constructing key issues in either the sociology of the physique and the sociology of labor. Drawing on current learn, the writer proceeds to ascertain quite a lot of employment sectors: business employment; shopper family; healthiness perform; care paintings; the sweetness undefined; and intercourse paintings. The contribution of feminist thought and study is highlighted all through, and analyses of images aid the reader conceptualise the altering nature of the body/work dating over the years. Bodies at paintings is helping readers imagine extra basically and creatively approximately how paintings family form physically event.

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McClintock argues that the power relation between Munby and Cullwick can be best analysed using the model of sadomasochism, in which the scenarios directed by the S/M couple are orchestrated and controlled as much by the ‘bottom’ as the apparent master. Although the symbols they used in their games are drawn from the wider social structure, Munby did not always play the master; for instance he liked to be held by Cullwick in scenarios now associated with the practice of ‘babyism’. McClintock insists therefore that the ways in which the photographs and diaries make Hannah Cullwick’s work visible should be seen as her own achievement; Cullwick makes visible, through the photographs that she organised, the labour that was supposed to remain hidden.

It is influenced by the structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss in particular, but his sociology is equally deeply influenced by Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, phenomenology and existentialism. He attempts to carve out a position that avoids both structuralism and voluntarism, based on a reconceptualisation of ‘the self’ through the concept of habitus. This concept puts the body at the centre of the negotiation of structure and agency, the social and the individual. Bourdieu says that ‘To speak of habitus is to assert that the individual, even the person, the subjective, is social, collective.

In the first place, none of the key influences is particularly interested in the workplace as a distinctive environment. For instance, Goffman drew his examples from a wide range of encounters, including the workplace, but used them to illustrate the skill required for the performance and interpretation of embodied symbolic interaction across the institutions of public life. Similarly, while Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of instrumental activity could be applied to the workplace, this could be at the cost of losing any distinction between the types of constraints (and the shaping of experience) that are associated with remunerated employment as compared to unpaid activities.

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