Category: Sociology of Organizations & Work

So, what’s it like being Muslim in Academia? A case of oppressive institutions and Islamophobic landscapes.

In this blog, Maisha Islam tells us about her recent Sociology Compass publication where she and her co-author Arif Mahmud take readers on a journey to better understand the lived experiences of Muslim academics navigating through the terrains of UK academia. There is much to learn and get accustomed to as an early career researcher within academia. From the competitive world of publishing, to securing funding or research grants, teaching on numerous courses at a time, and supporting students sometimes...

Well-being is a characteristic of companies – not just individual workers

Work-related well-being has garnered significant public attention since the onset of COVID-19. Discussions of remote work, flexible work, and the importance of work/life balance have received heightened consideration as people and organizations across the globe adapt to an unprecedented historical moment and begin reassessing how they want to work (and live). While simply discussing work-related well-being is a step in the right direction, popular and academic understandings of well-being in the workplace have room for improvement. This is because well-being...

If you want to prevent accidents at work – then think about social, cultural or organizational aspects – before the individual.

Accidents at work are estimated to kill more than 380,000 workers worldwide every year (Concha-Barrientos et al., 2005; EU-OSHA, 2017). Although the risks of accidents at work have been reduced over the last about 30 years, the increased complexity and multidimensional characteristics of risk to workers have challenged the existing approaches to accident prevention. In recent years social, cultural and organizational aspects have become important additional perspectives included in accident prevention programs at work, and referred to as the “third...

College Inequalities: The Best Four Years for Whom?

Going to college is a revered part of young adulthood in U.S. society. It is often said that the four years spent in college are “the best four years of your life,” riddled with expectations that everyone in college is having fun, learning endlessly, and “finding themselves.” However, this pervasive societal encouragement of attaining a college education can easily feel like an anxiety-ridden pressure campaign. Many U.S. teens grow up hearing from parents, relatives, friends, or guidance counselors that their...

How Digital Platforms Cause Mental Disorders in Platform Workers

The recently released films The Equalizer and Sorry, We Missed You drew attention for featuring an Uber driver and a delivery driver as the main characters, respectively. These films vividly capture the lives of platform workers. Specifically, the films show how platform workers function by receiving customer ratings through apps and transmitting their movements on the streets to customers with real-time location-tracking systems. Platform labour is not only done on the streets. The territory of platform labour is expanding into...

Good for Business, Bad for Asian Americans? Affirmative Action and the Lawsuit against Harvard University

Human heterogeneity in culture, race, gender, sexuality, and any other characteristics – commonly referred to as “diversity” – is often lauded in organizations across the U.S. for its various positive outcomes. While hiring or recruiting a diverse pool of people is arguably an ethical imperative, much of the narrative around diversity instead revolves around how it’s “good for business”. For example, a recent Forbes article argues that “diversity and inclusion are essential to business success”, and Amazon’s website claims that...

To Do What You Love, Or Not? Employment and the Dominant Ideology of Work Passion

“Do what you love” is something we often hear in response to questions about what career path to choose. Whether from guidance counselors, college professors, or parents, the message is always the same: the best job is the one you are passionate about. A job, in other words, should be more than a job – it should be a part of who you are. While often well-intentioned, this idea is built on several problematic assumptions. First, it presupposes that everyone...

Does cultural consumption increase future earnings?

In contemporary Britain (as in almost every other nation), there is a clear link between cultural tastes and social position. People who are highly educated, have higher incomes, and work in prestigious occupations are generally more avid cultural consumers than people in less advantaged positions. As you might expect, they are more likely to enjoy high-brow activities like classical music concerts and art galleries. However, they also participate more often in a diverse range of activities; from going to the...

Is College Worth the Student Loans?

Getting a college education is, in many ways, revered in U.S. society. It is often said that the four years spent in college are “the best four years of your life,” based in the notion that college is a social and fun experience that will shape one’s life. However, the pervasive societal encouragement of college education is also based on some more dire assumptions. Many young adults in the U.S. grow up hearing that they need to go to college...

Doctors’ Orders – Sociology Lens Q&A

Can you give us some background information about the US medical residency system? The US medical residency system is peculiar in the sense that on any given year, there are consistently fewer prospective American MD medical student (USMD) applicants than there are available positions—by between 25 and 40%. This has been true since the about 1950s. So the country relies on international and osteopathic medical graduates (what I collectively call “non-USMDs”) to fill residency positions in fields like internal medicine,...

The Uneven Adjustment to Homeworking Among UK Sex Workers

The shift to homeworking under lockdown raises important concerns for those whose work involves physical and emotional connection, not least forms of work which have been undertaken in a shroud of secrecy. Here, I highlight the work of sex workers, in particular, who negotiate a sexual and emotional experience with clients through physical touch and emotional conversation. Of course, while some aspects of the experience can be – and are – undertaken remotely through online technologies in a burgeoning online...

Put to the test: For a new sociology of testing

A test can be defined as an orchestrated attempt to reveal an entity’s potentially unknown properties or capacities. A drug trial, a pregnancy test, and a planetary probe are all procedures designed to ascertain the properties of some entity. However, while tests and testing are well‐established social forms, their role in culture, economy, politics, and everyday life seems to be expanding. With smart city experimentation, randomized controlled trials in economic development, and apps to test your personality and the performance...

School Closures During COVID-19: Potential Impacts on Homeschooling Regulation

Life as we know it is rapidly changing in the current coronavirus pandemic. While many Americans are experiencing unprecedented financial hardship as unemployment rates are skyrocketing, others with relatively unaffected jobs are nonetheless worried about other aspects of this “new normal”: no handshakes, no large gatherings, and even moving freely about or visiting with loved ones is restricted. Many, of course, are also falling ill or losing family members and friends. Although some states are more affected than others, the...

Upholding Equity Across Different Campuses

In the past decade the United States has witnessed an influx of conversations regarding sexual assault on college campuses. Cases like Brock Turner and Chanel Miller or Emma Sulkowicz became national examples of the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses as well as universities’ failures to protect survivors and seek justice. While there is much work left to be done, there seems to be a more concrete understanding of the frequency of sexual assault and the injustice done…

Pregnancy and childbirth in prison

“I’ve got baggy tops, so I just always have to hide my bump, and like most people couldn’t recognise that I’m pregnant, so that’s a good thing”. With a prison population of approximately 9000 women in England, it is estimated that approximately 600 pregnancies and 100 births occur annually.  Despite there being an extensive literature on the sociology of reproduction, pregnancy and childbirth, there has been scarce qualitative research looking specifically at pregnant prisoners. Our recently published open access paper:...

25 Years of Gender, Work and Organisation- ‘Embodying the political resistance we live’

At the start of Gender, Work and Organization’s 25th Anniversary year, we reflected on the journal’s trajectory and outlined an editorial direction for the journal (Pullen, Lewis and Ozkazanc-Pan, 2019). Ending this year, we ask ourselves what a journal focusing on critical approaches to gender requires in the current socio-political climate? It is tempting to revisit our contributions to the journal and outline what we might like to see submitted in the future; we might like to cross-reference developments in...