The Tumbleweed Society

The Tumbleweed Society

Working and Caring in An Age of Insecurity

Book - 2015
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"We live in a tumbleweed society, where job insecurity is rampant and widely seen as inevitable. Companies are transforming the way they organize work. While new working conditions offer gains for some workers, others lose out. Home life offers little respite: while diverse types of families are more accepted than ever before, stability is increasingly lacking in our intimate lives. In The Tumbleweed Society, sociologist Allison Pugh examines the ways we navigate questions of commitment and flexibility at work and at home in a society where insecurity has become the norm. Drawing on 80 in-depth interviews with three groups of parents who vary in their experiences of job insecurity and family structure, Pugh explores how people are adapting to the new culture of insecurity and how these adaptations themselves affect what we can expect from each other. Faced with perpetual insecurity both at work and at home, people construct stronger walls between the two, expecting little or nothing from their jobs and placing nearly all of their expectations for fulfilling connections on their intimate relationships. This trend, Pugh argues, often has the effect of making intimate lives even more fraught, reproducing the very tumbleweed dynamics they seek to check. Pugh shows that our experiences of insecurity shape the way we talk about obligations, how we interpret them as commitments we will or will not shoulder, how we conceive of what we owe each other--indeed, how we are able to weave the fabric of our connected lives"-- Provided by publisher
"Drawing on 80 in-depth interviews with three groups of parents (mostly women) who vary in their experiences of job insecurity, Pugh explores how people adapt to the new American landscape of uncertainty and insecurity--some with cool acceptance, others with denial or pragmatism, and still others with astounding altruism and over-commitment. She observes that many workers today adopt what she calls the "one-way honor system." Faced with perpetual insecurity both at work and at home, Pugh finds that people defensively construct stronger and thicker walls between the two, expecting little or nothing from their jobs and placing nearly all of their expectations for enduring and fulfilling connections on their intimate relationships. This trend, she argues, often has the effect of making individuals' intimate lives, in which some invest so much in an effort to countervail the insecurity of work, in fact more fraught, reproducing the very "tumbleweed" dynamics they seek to check. By examining how we adapt ourselves, and prepare our children, for a new environment of uncertainty, Pugh gives us a finely detailed rendering of what "commitment" now means and how we still try to find it"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, [2015]
ISBN: 9780199957712
0199957711
Characteristics: xi, 262 pages ; 24 cm

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