New Divisions of Labour?: Comparative Thoughts on the Current Recession

New Divisions of Labour?: Comparative Thoughts on the Current Recession This article argues that it is useful to compare the current recession with that which occurred three decades ago. Drawing on research undertaken at that time by Ray Pahl, it is suggested that four questions are once again revealing in the study of the current economic downturn: ‘How have we come to be where we are currently?’, ‘Who gets what?’, ‘How do we know what we claim to know?’, and ‘What sorts of lessons can be drawn to inform thinking about the future?’ The usefulness of asking these questions is discussed, even though the answers must await further research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociological Research Online SAGE

New Divisions of Labour?: Comparative Thoughts on the Current Recession

New Divisions of Labour?: Comparative Thoughts on the Current Recession

This article argues that it is useful to compare the current recession with that which occurred three decades ago. Drawing on research undertaken at that time by Ray Pahl, it is suggested that four questions are once again revealing in the study of the current economic downturn: 'How have we come to be where we are currently?', 'Who gets what?', 'How do we know what we claim to know?', and 'What sorts of lessons can be drawn to inform thinking about the future?' The usefulness of asking these questions is discussed, even though the answers must await further research. Keywords: Recession, Divisions of Labour, Community Introduction 1.1 Any sociological perspective on the current recession involves comparisons, since sociology is an inherently comparative discipline. These comparisons may involve sociological variables (such as the uneven impact of the recession on different social classes and genders) but can also be across time and space. We can learn much from how the current situation compares to former economic downturns, or from the differential impact of economic change between countries and regions. A good place to start is to consider existing sociological research, and how far that still applies to the current situation and, where it does not, how and why things have changed. 1.2 One obvious point of reference is the extensive sociological writing on the economic crisis that ran for a decade from the mid-1970s. Sociologists produced extensive material analysing the causes and consequences of that recession, in particular the impact of unemployment and economic insecurity on workers and their families and communities. A short article cannot consider more than a small part of this literature, but we seek to illustrate the usefulness for understanding the present of taking previous research as a point of comparison by focusing on one case: that of the research undertaken by Ray Pahl and his team on the Isle of Sheppey...
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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2009 SAGE Publications and the British Sociological Association
ISSN
1360-7804
eISSN
1360-7804
D.O.I.
10.5153/sro.1929
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article argues that it is useful to compare the current recession with that which occurred three decades ago. Drawing on research undertaken at that time by Ray Pahl, it is suggested that four questions are once again revealing in the study of the current economic downturn: ‘How have we come to be where we are currently?’, ‘Who gets what?’, ‘How do we know what we claim to know?’, and ‘What sorts of lessons can be drawn to inform thinking about the future?’ The usefulness of asking these questions is discussed, even though the answers must await further research.

Journal

Sociological Research OnlineSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 2009

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