How the Other Half Works: Immigration and the Social Organization of Labor

By Roger Waldinger; Michael I. Lichter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Network, Bureaucracy,
and Exclusion

Whom you know has much to do with what you do. Most job-seekers activate their social connections to find jobs. Employers use ties linking the workers whom they know to the new people they may like to hire. Why do social networks so heavily influence the way workers find jobs and bosses find help?

The answer has several parts. First, networks serve as conduits for information, telling job-seekers about opportunities and informing employers about the characteristics of applicants. Second, the same social connections function as instruments of influence, allowing job-seekers to put themselves on the “inside track” by proxy. Third, social ties can be used to enforce obligations, so that the employer is assured that the favors he or she does for the job-seeker and his or her accomplices will be repaid. Fourth, networks, as carriers of both information and obligations, can cement implicit contracts regarding the rights and responsibilities of each party to the employment exchange. To the extent that a group of workers feels bound by these understandings, the employer can count on its exercise of social control to keep recalcitrant fellows in line.

So goes current sociological wisdom, emphasizing the efficiency advantages of social over market forces. The revisionist arguments resonate powerfully with the migration literature, which has come to recognize that the connections between veterans in the new society and would-be migrants in the old provide the matrix in which movement and settlement take place. This chapter builds on these now-accepted understandings

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How the Other Half Works: Immigration and the Social Organization of Labor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Part One - How the Other Half Works 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Part Two - The Social Organization of Labor 29
  • Chapter 2 - What Employers Want 31
  • Chapter 3 - Doing the Job 42
  • Chapter 4 - The Language of Work 63
  • Part Three - From Market to Work 81
  • Chapter 5 - Network, Bureaucracy, and Exclusion 83
  • Chapter 6 - Social Capital and Social Closure 100
  • Chapter 7 - Bringing the Boss Back In 121
  • Part Four - Prejudice, Preferences, and Conflict 139
  • Chapter 8 - Whom Employers Want 141
  • Chapter 9 - Us and them 155
  • Chapter 10 - Diversity and Its Discontents 181
  • Part Five - Ethnicity at Work 203
  • Chapter 11 - Black/immigrant Competition 205
  • Chapter 12 - Conclusion 218
  • Appendix - The Local Context 235
  • Notes 253
  • Index 277
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