Social Change and the Experience of Unemployment

Social Change and the Experience of Unemployment

Social Change and the Experience of Unemployment

Social Change and the Experience of Unemployment

Synopsis

The most important and disturbing change in the British labor market over the last two decades has been the re-emergence of mass unemployment. This study is a powerful and comprehensive investigation of the effects of being unemployed on individuals' attitudes towards work, their social relationships, and their psychological health. Breaking new ground in the study of unemployment, the editors use large-scale surveys that allow the first direct comparison between the unemployed and their working counterparts. Their survey takes into account a wide range of variables including the local labor market, the nature of household relations, and people's work and family histories. This in-depth examination of a key area of government policy is sure to be an important resource for policymakers and scholars well into the next century.

Excerpt

The chapters in this book are based upon a number of data sets that emerged as the result of an extended period of co-operative effort by the multidisciplinary team involved in the Social Change and Economic Life Initiative. Many of those who made important contributions to the design of the survey and the format of questions are not authors in this particular volume, although they are writing chapters for other publications in the series. We would like, however, to underline the fact that this book would not have been possible without the wider collective effort.

We also owe a good deal to a number of people who assisted us in the various phases of the collection, preparation, and analysis of the data. The fieldwork was carried out by Public Attitude Surveys Ltd., under the direction of Barry Lee, Ruth Lennox, Stuart Robinson, and Eileen Sutherland. We were very impressed by their ability to cope with a quite exceptionally complex organizational structure for the development of the survey instruments. Our subsequent work has shown that the fieldwork was carried out to a very high standard. Martin Range and Jane Roberts played a central role in setting up the data tapes, and Martin Range also gave invaluable assistance with the programming of the work history data. Sarah McGuigan was responsible for the word processing of a number of the chapters of the book and she also gave a great deal of administrative help with the overall volume. Finally, we would like to thank the staff of Oxford University Press for their work in the preparation of the book.

An earlier version of Chapter 10 has been published in the European Journal of Sociology (vol. xxi, 1990, no. 1) and Chapter 5 has been published in the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics (vol. 54, 1992, no. 2). We are grateful in both cases for permission to use the relevant material.

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