The changing meaning of work: Restructuring in the former coalmining communities of the South Wales Valleys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines how industrial restructuring has effected social transformation in terms of the type and meaning of work in the post-closure context of the South Wales Valleys. A conceptual framework is developed which considers a range of experiences within and outside the paid labour market. This theorizes social movement and stasis, and analyses the resources and priorities invoked in pursuing different types of work. Restructuring has weakened occupation’s role as a primary means of social cohesion in former coalmining communities, and labour market experiences have become more diffuse and dynamic. It is argued that while paid work remains important to some individuals, this overlooks the experiences of those excluded from or constrained in their economic activity. In order to understand these social solidarities it is necessary to employ less restrictive definitions of work, and examine the meaningful labour embedded in a more interconnected set of relationships and structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-246
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Volume17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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restructuring
community
labor market
Ministry of State Security (GDR)
experience
social cohesion
social movement
solidarity
occupation
labor
Coal mining
Labour market
Meaning of work
Wales
resources
economics
Resources
Conceptual framework
Closure
Paid work

Cite this

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title = "The changing meaning of work: Restructuring in the former coalmining communities of the South Wales Valleys",
abstract = "This article examines how industrial restructuring has effected social transformation in terms of the type and meaning of work in the post-closure context of the South Wales Valleys. A conceptual framework is developed which considers a range of experiences within and outside the paid labour market. This theorizes social movement and stasis, and analyses the resources and priorities invoked in pursuing different types of work. Restructuring has weakened occupation’s role as a primary means of social cohesion in former coalmining communities, and labour market experiences have become more diffuse and dynamic. It is argued that while paid work remains important to some individuals, this overlooks the experiences of those excluded from or constrained in their economic activity. In order to understand these social solidarities it is necessary to employ less restrictive definitions of work, and examine the meaningful labour embedded in a more interconnected set of relationships and structures.",
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AB - This article examines how industrial restructuring has effected social transformation in terms of the type and meaning of work in the post-closure context of the South Wales Valleys. A conceptual framework is developed which considers a range of experiences within and outside the paid labour market. This theorizes social movement and stasis, and analyses the resources and priorities invoked in pursuing different types of work. Restructuring has weakened occupation’s role as a primary means of social cohesion in former coalmining communities, and labour market experiences have become more diffuse and dynamic. It is argued that while paid work remains important to some individuals, this overlooks the experiences of those excluded from or constrained in their economic activity. In order to understand these social solidarities it is necessary to employ less restrictive definitions of work, and examine the meaningful labour embedded in a more interconnected set of relationships and structures.

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