Work is, and always will be, a central institution of society.What makes a capitalist society unique is that it treats the humancapacity to engage in labor as a basic commodity. This can be asource of dynamism, as when innovative firms raise wages to attractthe best and brightest. But it can also be a source of misery, aswhen one's skills are suddenly rendered obsolete by forcesbeyond one's control.
Jeffrey J. Sallaz asks us to rethink our basic assumptions aboutwork. Drawing on cutting-edge theories within economic sociologyand through the use of contemporary examples, he conceptualizeslabor as embedded exchange. This draws attention to issues that alltoo frequently are overlooked in our public discourse and privateimaginations: how various forms of work are classified and valued;how markets for labor operate in practice; and how people canchallenge the central fiction that their work is simply a commodityto be bought and sold.
This readable and engaging book is suitable for both graduateand advanced undergraduate students. It will be of interest toeconomic sociologists, scholars of labor, and all of those who findthemselves working for a living.