Revisiting Divisions of Labour

The impacts and legacies of a modern sociological classic

Editors: Graham Crow and Jaimie Ellis

This book is a reflection on the making of a modern sociological classic text and its enduring influence on the discipline. It is about another book, Ray Pahl's Divisions of Labour, which presents the craft of conceiving, planning, undertaking and presenting research. Excerpts from the original are interspersed with contributions from leading researchers and its effects in the ensuing three decades in the book. In addition to the excerpts, it presents the author's research on the Isle of Sheppey, the 'Sheppey project', which expanded into a more systematic study when Pahl won a Social Science Research Council grant. Pahl's Sheppey was in many ways an exemplar of deindustrialisation in the UK as it contained within its boundaries many of the complex elements of deindustrialisation, indeed he did describe Sheppey as a 'post-industrial laboratory'. The Durkheimian, Marxist, and Weberian theories were sketched out by ordinary people trying to make sense of the context in which they live; they are all founded to some degree on fact. One of the key concepts developed in Divisions of Labour is that of the 'household work strategy' and it was demonstrated through the evolution of women's work. The 'polarization of workers' lives', and the ways in which couples share the domestic division of labour over the life course is discussed. The ideas contained in Divisions of Labour have been engaged with by scholars not only in sociology but in anthropology, development studies, economics, geography, political science, psychology, social history, social, policy and beyond.

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