Item description for Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs by Paul Willis & Stanley Aronowitz...
Hailed by the New Society as the best book on male working class youth, this classic work, first published in 1977, has been translated into several foreign languages and remains the authority in ethnographical studies.
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Studio: Columbia University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.35" Width: 5.49" Height: 0.57" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Dec 22, 1981
Publisher Columbia University Press
ISBN 0231053576 ISBN13 9780231053570
Availability 0 units.
More About Paul Willis & Stanley Aronowitz
PAUL J. WILLIS is a professor of English at Westmont College and a former poet laureate of Santa Barbara, California. He is the author of three previous collections of poetry, most recently Say This Prayer into the Past.
Reviews - What do customers think about Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs?
i still not receive this item, i have wait for a month already!! Aug 10, 2006
i still not receive this item, i have wait for a month already!!
How a Cultural Study Should Be Done Feb 11, 2004
This book is apparently a classic in the fields of cultural studies and ethnography, and I agree that it's certainly one of the stronger examples of the form. This study by Paul Willis, which was conducted in the 70s, is certainly free of the political correctness and obsession with romanticizing other cultures that later polluted the field and drained its credibility. Willis' study on working class kids in England and the issues they face in joining the workforce can be seen as interesting in itself, as such issues were surely overlooked by lofty academics before and since. Especially rewarding is Willis' method of actually making himself a believable member of a group of lower class boys at school and then following them into the industrial workforce after graduation. This adds an immense amount of credibility to the study.
This particular subject matter is surely outdated, even in England itself as the education system there has (mostly) moved away from a focus on dividing kids by class, then doing nothing for the 'problem' kids but preparing them for menial jobs in industry. However, there is much to think about concerning the larger issues that Willis raises, especially the rigid tendencies of the class system (not just in England), and the methods used by those at the bottom to cope with a system they probably will not be able to get out of. The 'analysis' section of the book gets a bit sluggish as Willis performs the required ivory-tower application of theories to the findings he collected while sojourning with the working class kids. The predictable treatise on Marxist theories of labor and capital gets especially tiresome, though otherwise Willis still manages to keep the theory section mostly interesting, as he builds on crucial insights into class structures and the dark side of industrial society. All this from hanging with a bunch of rowdy and potty-mouthed British schoolkids. ...
A landmark effort at synthesizing theoretical frameworks Feb 7, 2002
I use Willis' work every semester in my graduate level educational research methods class. It is one of first and most influential efforts to bring together a marxist focus on macro-social dynamics, a symbolic interactionist focus on micro-social interactions, and a phenomenological focus on individual consicousness into a single study of class reproduction. It is a classic in every sense.
Still The Best Ethnography in Sociology Sep 3, 2001
I came to Dr. Willis's Learning To Labor as a Ph.D. student at York University, Toronto. I was profoundly moved both theoretically and personally. Willis gives us a theoretical way of articulating macro and micro perspectives which shows how the two arise in dialectical fashion, e.g. class determines the working class lives of the lads through the very choices of the lads themselves! It was, and still is, a brilliant insight and contribution in relation to ongoing discussions of structure/agency and the whole question of determinism. Dr. Willis's work also touched base with my own life. I grew up in a cotton mill town in South Carolina. The local school was closely tied to the local manufacturing plants and the surrounding working-class, both in the fields and the mills. I saw the life of the lads as nearly identical with the life of the white, working class kids that I went to school with. Most of my high school friends saw going to college as a "waste of time" and for "sissies". Real work required real men! Most ended up in the local cotton mills. Many of these young men had promising lives that could have been realized, but at those structural moments choices were made that reproduced the local working-class. I have since written my own ethnographic work (Native Americans in the Carolina Borderlands: A Critical Ethnography, Carolinas Press, 2000) and I have to say that Dr. Willis's work was always a big help and resource for thinking through the relationship between reproduction and resistance. A must read for anyone on the verge of ethnographic research and for the general reader as well.
How outdated research Get outdated reviews May 30, 2000
I thought this book was very outdated and hard to read because of the English accent Willis uses. The research was OK but a little bias against working class ( poor and broke)kids.