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Occupations and Professions

Given the state of the world economy, it is never too early for students to think about their future careers. This course will help students to ponder this issue through reference to the sociology of occupations and professions. During Term I, we will cover two topics. First is the control of work, which will be addressed through examination of two occupations: One of them—fast food work—is an occupation that all of you know well and that many of you have held; the other one—life insurance agent—is an occupation that some of you may hold in the future. The key question to be considered is: How are these two types of employees controlled, and why? Second is gender. Here we ask: What kinds of experiences and problems do women and men have while on the job? Is it easier for men or women to move up the job ladder? If women or men have an advantage, then why? During Term II, we will tackle up to three issues. First is inequality more generally, which raises such questions as: How do individuals get jobs and what factors allow them to get ahead? To what extent do human capital, social capital, and cultural capital affect individuals’ careers? Second is occupational and professional ethics. Here we ask: What moral dilemmas do employees face in pursuing their careers? And what are the personal and professional consequences of doing the right or wrong thing? Third is downsizing, about which we pose three questions: Why do employers discharge competent employees? How are downsizings executed? And what are the personal and organizational effects of these events? The general aim is to use cutting-edge sociological research on occupations and professions to help you understand what your future careers will be like.

SOCIOL 2V06

Occupations and Professions

Unit(s): 6.0 Level(s): II Term(s): Full Year Offered?: No

Given the state of the world economy, it is never too early for students to think about their future careers. This course will help students to ponder this issue through reference to the sociology of occupations and professions. During Term I, we will cover two topics. First is the control of work, which will be addressed through examination of two occupations: One of them—fast food work—is an occupation that all of you know well and that many of you have held; the other one—life insurance agent—is an occupation that some of you may hold in the future. The key question to be considered is: How are these two types of employees controlled, and why? Second is gender. Here we ask: What kinds of experiences and problems do women and men have while on the job? Is it easier for men or women to move up the job ladder? If women or men have an advantage, then why? During Term II, we will tackle up to three issues. First is inequality more generally, which raises such questions as: How do individuals get jobs and what factors allow them to get ahead? To what extent do human capital, social capital, and cultural capital affect individuals’ careers? Second is occupational and professional ethics. Here we ask: What moral dilemmas do employees face in pursuing their careers? And what are the personal and professional consequences of doing the right or wrong thing? Third is downsizing, about which we pose three questions: Why do employers discharge competent employees? How are downsizings executed? And what are the personal and organizational effects of these events? The general aim is to use cutting-edge sociological research on occupations and professions to help you understand what your future careers will be like.


Paul Glavin

Assistant Professor

Prerequisite(s): SOCIOL 1A06