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Occupations and Inequality: Past, Present and Future

SPS Seminar
20 March 2018, h. 13.00

Speaker: Jerry A. Jacobs (Department of Sociology - University of Pennsylvania)
Introduction: Camilla Gaiaschi  (Università degli Studi di Milano)
Discussant: Antonio M. Chiesi (Università degli Studi di Milano)

SPS Seminar Room  (Room 215, II floor, via Passione side)
Dipartimento di Scienze sociali e politiche
Via Conservatorio 7, Milano

In this paper, I argue for the importance of occupations as a unit of analysis for sociologists. I show that it is useful to study individual occupations – as distinct for social strata or social classes—for the study of inter-generational inequality. This portion of the paper draws on data on the career plans of several million college freshmen in the US. In the second portion of the paper, I use occupational data to examine a central issue in the debate about the future of work. Specifically, I examine whether the rate of occupational change is getting faster or slower. The “jobless future” hypothesis depends on the idea that technological is accelerating rapidly, so much so that jobs will disappear faster than they am be replaced. Empirically, drawing on US census data from the period 1870-2015, the evidence I present indicates that the rate of occupational change is slower since 1970 than it was in earlier periods of time. Finally, I suggest that occupational analysis can connect our understanding of social stratification with the sociology of work, the sociology of professions and some these in organizational sociology.

05 marzo 2018
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