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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.
Law's Community Interaction Theory (Powerpoint Presentation)

Phil Hodkinson's work has been chosen for its attention to the socio-cultural context of identity.
Hodkinson's Careership Theory (Powerpoint Presentation)


Further reading

  • See the the section entitled 'Additional definitions, disciplines and perspectives' in the blue menu above. The seminal work of Weber, Hughes, Becker and others is discussed 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. Although the debate is partly about the practice of career education and guidance, it still has some relevance to our work on career development theories. K. Roberts provides an examplar of what is known as the opportunity structure theory of career development with its explicit focus on socio-econmoic class.
  • 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.
  • Law (2009) has recently re-visited community interaction theory and argued for its continued relevance.