For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

From Manual Workers to Wage Laborers: Transformation of the Social Question

by Castel, Robert (2002)


[Summary from the publisher] In this monumental book, sociologist Robert Castel reconstructs the history of what he calls "the social question," or the ways in which both labor and social welfare have been organized from the Middle Ages onward to contemporary industrial society. Throughout, the author identifies two constants bearing directly on the question of who is entitled to relief and who can be excluded: the degree of embeddedness in any given community and the ability to work. Along this dual axis the author locates virtually the entire history of social welfare in early-modern and contemporary Europe.


Sociology, Social Question, Social Welfare, Historical Perspective, Industrial Society, Durkheim, Disaffiliated, European Context, Working Poor, Wage Labor, Liberal Modernity, Contract, Social Assistance


Social Centrality of Work, French History, History of Work

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