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Sociological perspectives


Sociologists have explicitly studied career since the pioneering work of Max Weber, Clifford Shaw and Everett Hughes in the early and mid-twentieth century. The following contemporary perspectives have been chosen:

  • Bill Law's work on community interaction has been selected for its emphasis on the ways that careers are constructed within communities. Please now click the play arrow in the first video below.
  • The online lecture is also available in Powerpoint Law's Community Interaction Theory (Powerpoint Presentation)
  • Phil Hodkinson's work has been chosen for its attention to the socio-cultural context of identity. Once you have played the first video, please click on the play arrow in the second video below.
  • The online lecture is also available in Powerpoint Hodkinson's Careership Theory (Powerpoint Presentation)
  • Following this, read the articles by Law (1981 & 2009) and Hodkinson (2009) provided in the core reading.

Video 1: Law

Video 2: Hodkinson


Once you have engaged with the core materials, here are some leads for optional further reading:

  • See the the section on Additional definitions. The seminal work of Weber, Hughes, Becker and others is outlined under 'Definitions'.
  • It is worth tracing the original debate in the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling between K. Roberts (1977), Daws (1977) and R.J. Roberts (1980) as it provides a context for Law's work. This still has some relevance to our work on career development theories. Ken Roberts provides an examplar of what is known as the opportunity structure theory of career development with its explicit focus on socio-economic class. He has recently re-stated his commitment to this approach in typically trenchant style (K. Roberts 2009).
  • From a social psychological perspective, Gottfredson & Laplan (1997) on gender-based circumscription of occupational aspirations.
  • Johnson & Mortimer (2002) on career choice and development from a sociological perspective.