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

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

CHAPTER XV
INTERRELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN OCCUPATIONS AND THE WIDER COMMUNITY

Occupational life articulates with other areas of community life in two broad ways: (1) through the simultaneous performance of different social roles by the person, which inevitably results in mutual influences between the occupational and other roles, and (2) through social mechanisms whereby influences generated by the occupational system or the market place and the cultural or social milieu in the broader community mutually influence one another.

As has already been indicated in previous chapters, jobs generate certain forces which are pervasively influential in the lives of workers. Routines in the factory, mine, shop, or office make certain psychological and physical demands upon the individual. Occupations not only make certain life styles mandatory but they also influence the basic values and attitudes underlying most social relationships. The limitations which occupations impose, for example, in the economic sphere and in the uses of leisure time need little elaboration. To live in a given manner one has to maintain a given level of income. Patterns of spending, consumption, and saving are inextricably associated with certain levels of income. The amounts that can be spent for entertainment, health, and education, to name just a few areas, are directly related to level of income. Similarly, the type of financial security that occupations provide helps fashion both the individual's and his family's orientations toward the future.

The structure of the work situation may also facilitate certain patterns of community activities and may even define explicit life patterns for wife and children. Residence, associational activities, consumption and entertainment patterns, education of children, and child-rearing practices are often explicitly dictated by the position the breadwinner holds in the occupational hierarchy. They may even be dictated by the company for which he works.

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