ABSTRACT

The social, economic and technological changes that have occurred in advanced industrialized societies in recent decades have, among other things, called into question the meanings of work bequeathed from an earlier time and firmly established in modem society. The modern values of work and production and their considerable importance in the organization of modern social life and the formation of selfhood are becoming increasingly problematic in a world in which work, as it is conventionally understood, may never again be so widely available and universally valued. At the present time, in addition to increasingly apparent ambivalence about the value and meaningfulness of work, there is a series of questions concerning the form and necessity of work itself, its nature, and its availability under conditions of technological and organizational transformation. It is these questions and the factors contributing to a transformation of work which are explored below. But first, a discussion of the context of contemporary work is in order.