Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview

of job they could get and that they like the people they work with and meet. Each of the occupations shows quite a different pattern of satisfaction sources. The general conclusion from these results combined with those on present level of satisfaction would seem to be that most people adjust to the jobs which they have, and base that adjustment on the particular attributes of the job and the job situation. There appears to be a tendency for the individual to react positively to his work situation and to emphasize the favorable aspects of it.


4. WORK AND LEISURE: FUSION OR POLARITY?

· David Riesman and Warner Bloomberg, Jr.

As if reflecting the gulf which widened between work and leisure with the rise of the factory, there has been some tendency to regard leisure as not quite a serious topic.1 Only occasionally does a student of factory life note the consequence of divergent leisure patterns for the forms of industrial relations.2

. . . Each of us has argued in earlier writings that (1) leisure must provide meanings and satisfactions, even challenges, which work no longer furnishes for many, both because of changes in the nature of work and in our nature; (2) work and leisure are becoming increasingly indistinct--reminiscent in some ways of the preindustrial age--with interpersonal relations growing in importance in both; (3) factory workers at play are coming increasingly to behave like the general American population, raising the question whether their widely shared roles as consumers (a word we use very broadly to connote nonwork spheres) do not influence their outlook at least as much as their segregated roles as producers. In what follows, we propose to qualify and complicate some of these ideas.


The Centralty of Work

At the beginning of the industrial revolution, Adam Smith was so impressed with the stultifying nature of factory life that he hoped the hours away from work might somehow strengthen those qualities of character he regarded as essentially human. Marx went much further in seeing the factory as the ambush of brutishness, so terrible that it might engender a rational revolt against itself. No doubt, both men overlooked elements of passivity and boredom in the peasant's life, the yeoman's life, to which they could still look back. Quite possibly, they missed elements of creativity, disguised in tricks of the trade or sabotage or group solidarity, in the factories of their times--though the day was still a long way off when time study departments would assume that two and

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