People at Work

Life, Power, and Social Inclusion in the New Economy

344 pages

March, 2008

ISBN: 9780814720042



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Marjorie L. DeVault is Professor of Sociology at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She is the author of Liberating Method: Feminism and Social Research and Feeding the Family: The Social Organization of Caring as Gendered Work.

All books by Marjorie L. DeVault

People at Work is noted sociologist Marjorie L. DeVault’s groundbreaking collection of original essays on the complexities of the modern-day workplace. By focusing on the lived experiences of the worker, not as an automaton on an assembly line, but as an embodied human of flesh and bone, these essays offer important insight on the realities of the workplace, and their effects on life at home and in communities. With contributions from some of today’s top scholars, each essay is a detailed case study of a different aspect of the working world.

Compelling, lively, and sometimes chilling, the contributors address issues from disability rights to immigrant labor, welfare reforms to budget cuts, competition to personal motivations. Each one valuable on its own, the essays in People at Work combine to illuminate the hurdles that workers of all backgrounds struggle with and, more broadly, the impact of change on workers’ lives in the new, increasingly global, economy.


  • "DeVault's brilliant introduction transforms our understanding of work in contemporary North America. The collection as a whole, particularly the institutional ethnographies, expand and deepen her re-vision. A magnificent volume!"

    —Dorothy E. Smith, of Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People

  • “DeVault has successfully organized these very diverse papers into a coherent collection that examines the way the everyday experiences of people are shaped by wider systems . . . the book is eminently readable and it makes a valuable contribution to professional as well as scholarly literature.”

    Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare