For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The Concept of Skill: A Critical Review"

by Vallas, Steven Peter (1990)


The concept of ?skill? provides the linchpin for many debates on work. Yet occupational sociologists have seldom thought to ask what the concept means. This article reviews the literature and develops critical observations on skill research. Although recent theorists have tended to dismiss deskilling theory, the research findings remain equivocal. Despite their inability to measure compositional shifts in skill, case studies continue to play an important function. New lines of inquiry have emerged, indicating a growing consciousness of the limitations of the dominant theories of skill. Absent greater rigor in the study of skill, policy debates will proceed without a sociological contribution.


Skill, Sociology, Critical Theory



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