Sociologists and Trade Unions: The Owl of Minerva? by Richard Hyman

In October 2012, British Sociological Association journal Work, employment and society hosted a one-day conference reflecting on key debates and looking forward to what the future might hold for the discipline and the journal. We are happy to have video footage of the stimulating presentations.
WES was founded to address the world of work with a more encompassing understanding than the institutional focus central to academic industrial relations. This was reflected in the early issues of the journal, in which trade unions barely appeared. Over the years, they have received more attention, while the sociology of trade unionism (not only in the pages of WES) has become more sophisticated.

Yet ironically, actually existing unions have almost universally been in decline and on the defensive over the same period: hence Professor Hyman’s reference to the owl of Minerva. Should sociologists be concerned? And what is to be done?

Richard Hyman
Sociologists and Trade Unions: The Owl of Minerva?
Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics

Categories: Rethinking The World


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