POLS 201 Work and Labor in America

Sooner or later we all have to work-that is get a job. Some people even have "careers." And some people are lucky enough to consider the work they do a "vocation" - something that is both intrinsically rewarding and useful to society. Work occupies our best waking hours. For most people the nature of our work determines the quality of our daily lives. This course will focus on the varieties of work (in different industries and occupations); how people experience their work on the job; how society shapes the work we do; how work shapes our family lives our friendships our health and our self-esteem; and how the nature of work is changing in our increasingly global economy dominated by large corporations and sophisticated technology. We will look at the future of work in the context of our changing economy values and technologies. We will pay particular attention to how organized groups - labor unions consumer groups business associations and others have influenced the nature of work. We will also explore how government action (public policy) has shaped how our economy works and the rules governing the work we do. These include such matters as wages hours flex time family leave job security workplace health and safety the quality of goods and services and workplace participation. We will explore such questions as: What makes work satisfying or unsatisfying? How have such ideas as "professional" "career" "working class" "middle class" and "job security" changed? Why do we have increasing problems of low-wage work and even "sweatshops" in a wealthy society? How do such factors as education skill race and gender influence the kinds of work we do and how we experience our work? What are the chances of getting injured or sick because of working in a specific job? How do people balance work/career and family responsibilities? Do people experience work the same way in other democratic countries? What can be done to make the world of work better?

Credits

4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • United States Diversity