- Copyright Page
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Contributors
- Introduction and Overview
- The Moral Conditions of Work
- Dignity and Meaningful Work
- Meaningful Work and Freedom: Self-realization, Autonomy, and Non-domination in Work
- Work, Meaning, and Virtue
- Work and the Meaning of Being
- To Have Lived Well: Well-being and Meaningful Work
- Do We Have to Do Meaningful Work?
- Identity and Meaningful/Meaningless Work
- Self-transcendence and Meaningful Work
- “Belonging” and its Relationship to the Experience of Meaningful Work
- Exploring work Orientations and Cultural Accounts of Work: Toward a Research Agenda for Examining the Role of Culture in Meaningful Work
- Meaning in Life and in Work
- Meanings and Dirty Work: A Study of Refuse Collectors and Street Cleaners
- Finding Meaning in the Work of Caring
- Exploring Meaningful Work in the Third Sector
- Does My Engagement Matter?: Exploring the Relationship Between Employee Engagement and Meaningful Work in Theory and Practice
- Work Through a Gender Lens: More Work and More Sources of Meaningfulness
- Leadership and Meaningful Work
- Fostering the Human Spirit: A Positive Ethical Framework for Experiencing Meaningfulness at Work
- Direct Participation and Meaningful Work: The Implications of Task Discretion and Organizational Participation
- Accounting for Meaningful Work
- Meaningful Work and Family: How does the Pursuit of Meaningful Work Impact one’s Family?
- Does Corporate Social Responsibility Enhance Meaningful Work?: A Multi-perspective Theoretical Framework
- Cultural, National,and Individual Diversity and their Relationship to the Experience of Meaningful Work
- Bringing Political Economy Back In: A Comparative Institutionalist Perspective on Meaningful Work
- The Meaningful City: Toward a Theory of Public Meaningfulness, City Institutions, and Civic Work
Abstract and Keywords
Contemporary debates about meaningful work have drawn on ideas of autonomy and freedom, vocation or calling, dignity, and self-realization, informed by classical sociology. The third sector appears to offer an ideal space for meaningful work given its social, political, and environmental aims, and its assumed independence from state and market. This chapter takes a sociological approach to exploring if and in what ways it fulfills this ideal. It reviews what is known about the sector’s paid and unpaid workers and then focus on three different fields within the sector: social service, political activism, and humanitarian aid. Drawing on empirical studies of workers’ subjective experiences and motivations, we explore what makes this work potentially meaningful. We highlight diversity in how meaningfulness is experienced, how understandings are shaped by social position and life course, and the paradox that meaningful work in the sector can also be the source of stress and burnout.
Rebecca Taylor is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Southampton in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology. Her research interests are in work and organizations, and in particular conceptual debates about the nature of work, blurred boundaries between paid and unpaid work, and between work in different sectors and fields. She also has expertise in qualitative research methodologies and research ethics. She has published widely in journals such as Work Employment & Society, Policy and Politics, Sociological Review, and International Journal of Social Research Methodology.
Silke Roth is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Southampton in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology. Her research interests include humanitarianism, development, social movement, and gender studies. Her book The Paradoxes of Aid Work: Passionate Professionals (Routledge 2015) analyzes the biographies and careers of people working in aid. Her articles have appeared in journals including Gender & Society, Interface, Journal of Risk Research, Social Politics, Third World Quarterly, and Sociological Research Online. In addition, she has published various edited volumes and book chapters. She belongs to the editorial board of Sociology.
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