An Analysis of American Society in the 50s. Book Review by Shaad

An Analysis of American Society in the 50s.
Reviews Theodore Caplow's "The Sociology of Work", a key text in the field of sociology.
# 129075 | 1,727 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2009 | BD
Published by on Aug 30, 2010 in Economics (Labor) , Sociology (General) , Labor Studies (General)

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This essay provides an analysis of a key sociological text - Theodore Caplow's "The Sociology of Work". In explaining its significance, the paper points out how this book, which analyzes American society in the fifties, anticipates many of the trends which came to fruition in the sixties and after. The paper also highlights the new standards of objectivity that Caplow introduces, explaining how Caplow's ideas stem naturally from the theories of Durkheim, who proposed that modern society is increasingly based on the occupational groups that spring from the industrial mode of production. Caplow shows how the industrial mode impinges on the family, and ultimately gives rise to a universal culture of shallow individualism. The essay provides a thorough critique of the book, highlighting some flaws as well.

From the Paper:

"Theodore Caplow's The Sociology of Work, which appeared in the year 1964, is interesting because it captures the dramatic shifts in the work environment which took place in the aftermath of the Second World War. Social history, however, is not the stated purpose of this work. It is indeed a standard text in sociology with the focus on work. Despite the profuse use of empirical and statistical data, the treatise is by no means dry and tedious, because the facts are always introduced in the context of creative sociological analysis. The aim is objective sociology, but being placed in the context of the rapidly shifting sociological scene, it also becomes a historical testament. We recognize the modern social scene to be radically different from that of the fifties, which is the focus of the study. Yet Caplow identifies many of the trends in their nascent stages, trends that find their fruition in the world as we know it today. His study as a whole is thus an accurate anticipation of modern society."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Caplow, Theodore. The Sociology of Work. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill, 1964.
  • Macionis, John J. and Ken Plummer. Sociology: A Global Introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.
  • Mead, Margaret. And Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Looks at America. New York: Berghahn Books, 2000.
  • Mills, Charles Wright. The Sociological Imagination. Contributor Todd Gitlin. New York; Oxford University Press US, 2000.
  • Wallwork, Ernest. Durkheim: Morality and Milieu. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.

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