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Enforcing the Work Ethic
Rhetoric and Everyday Life in a Work Incentive Program
Enforcing the Work Ethic
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Gale Miller - Author
SUNY series in the Sociology of Work and Organizations
N/A
Hardcover - 252 pages
Release Date: February 1991
ISBN10: 0-7914-0423-4
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-0423-2

Out of Print
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 252 pages
Release Date: January 1991
ISBN10: 0-7914-0424-2
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-0424-9

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

This analysis, based on a year's observation of social relations in a Work Incentive Program (WIC) office, explores the ways in which staff members organize their interactions with clients, coworkers, and supervisors. Miller focuses on rhetoric (persuasive discourse) as a central aspect of everyday work and as a means of analyzing activities and relationships. He shows, for example, how staff members, clients, and supervisors rhetorically define and justify organizational purposes, or typical and preferred organizational solutions to problems. The book offers an alternative image and orientation to low-level human service professionals and emphasizes how they actively participate in the creation and maintenance of troublesome work relationships.

"Rather than taking the idas of 'labor market,' 'job characteristics,' and 'skills' for granted and analyzing market conditions, Miller argues that these concepts are continually subject to definition by those concerned, and that their meanings are assigned under very practical circumstances.

"The complex practicalities we all face in life and work are not ignored in describing WIN, and therefore, show a recognition of real life circumstances, in particular the 'rhetoric' that endures in a street-level bureaucracy. This challenges major assumptions and presents a convincing case for an alternate point of view." -- Jaber F. Gubrium

"Few sociologists have the courage to examine the messy, ambiguous, complex world of social service provision. While this examination is not as neat and tidy as those seeking merely to apportion blame, it is truly a sociological analysis of interest to all people who strive to understand how the world actually works. In particular, I found Miller offers the best in-depth examination of the ideologies surrounding 'work" and 'povery' that I have read.

"The ambiguity and complexity of the empirical world often has led research to suffer from a lack of focus. Miller's perpsective--new to sociology--has started to transform sociological studies of social problems and human services work" -- Donileen R. Loseke

Gale Miller is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Deparment of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University.


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Table of Contents

Preface

1: Human Service Work as Rhetoric

2: The Work Incentive Program

3: Social Relations in WIN as Potential Arguments

4: Defining and Justifying WIN

5: Defining Trouble in WIN

6: Justifying Solutions in WIN

7: Rhetoric, Argumentation, and Acquiescence in WIN

Notes

References

Index


Related Subjects
22191/23499(RR/CL/)

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