Extending conceptual boundaries: work, voluntary work and employment

Taylor, R.F. 2004. Extending conceptual boundaries: work, voluntary work and employment. Work, Employment & Society. 18 (1), pp. 29-49.

TitleExtending conceptual boundaries: work, voluntary work and employment
AuthorsTaylor, R.F.
Abstract

Traditional social theory has conceptualized work in terms of a dichotomy of public paid employment and private unpaid labour that oversimplifies the complexity of traditional and contemporary work practices and excludes voluntary work from sociological understandings of work. This article explores the lives of five workers from two voluntary sector organizations, whose experiences highlight the weaknesses of concepts such as 'career' and suggest that work�s conceptual boundaries be extended. A framework based on the 'total social organization of labour' is developed that distinguishes between paid and unpaid work within the setting of institutional, community and family relations. This provides a basis for mapping individuals� labour and exploring both the interconnections between their work positions and the boundaries of their work identity. At the structural level it highlights how health care and community work constitute labour markets or 'fields' ; hierarchical structures governed by rules that shape how positions are accessed.

Copyright 2006 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.

KeywordsEmployment, fields, informal economic activity, TSOL, unpaid work, voluntary work
JournalWork, Employment & Society
Journal citation18 (1), pp. 29-49
ISSN0950-0170
YearMar 2004
PublisherSage
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/0950017004040761
Publication dates
PublishedMar 2004

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