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

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

historical perspective of local labor markets under changing economic and social conditions. Finally, Bell's discussion of the recession of 1957 puts into bold relief the differential effects of economic recession on the various social and occupational groups within the community.


NOTES
1.
Henri Pirenne, Medieval Cities, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956, pp. 88-90; A History of Europe, Vol. 1, translated by B. Miall, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1958, pp. 192 ff.; Georg Simmel, "The Stranger" in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, translated by Kurt H. Wolff, Glencoe: The Free Press, 1950, pp. 403-408.
2.
Pitirim Sorokin, Society, Culture and Personality, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947, pp. 256-258.
3.
Richard Thurnwald, Economics in Primitive Communities, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 273 ff.; Raymond Firth, Primitive Polynesian Economy, London: George Routledge & Sons Ltd., 1939, passim.
4.
Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, Boston: Beacon Press, 1957, pp. 46 ff.; Trade and Market in the Early Empires, Glencoe: The Free Press, 1957, p. 68.
5.
Everett C. Hughes, "Dilemmas and Contradictions of Status," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 50, March 1945, p. 353.
6.
Loc. cit.
7.
William H. Whyte, Jr., The Organization Man, New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1956, passim.

1. LABOR DISTRIBUTION AND THE NORMATIVE SYSTEM ·

Sigmund Nosow

In a study of the Lansing, Michigan,1 labor market an effort was made to test some assumptions about the normative2 nature of labor distribution and to isolate where possible those social characteristics of workers most immediately related to this distribution. It was felt that for any given community, employers most nearly identified with the community would respond to workers within the labor market in particularistic3 or personal ways, reflecting the basic values of the community. On the other hand, employers oriented beyond the community such as managers of large, national, absentee-owned plants would be most likely to respond to individuals in the labor market on the basis of rational, objective, or universalistic standards, those often considered to be "economically" relevant.

It was expected that where hiring is done at an impersonal level, as in the large, absentee-owned plant, where universalistic standards prevail, there would be a greater concentration of socially marginal workers. It was expected, also, that these marginal workers would be highly concentrated in the lowest status plants, or plants in which the work is

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