Singapore University of Social Sciences

Sociology of Work and Occupations

Sociology of Work and Occupations (SOC317)


Many of you are currently working or going to spend the next few decades of your lives working. SOC317 Sociology of Work and Occupations aims to give you insights into your own relationship with the world of work. How did work develop into its present forms? What are the social relationships and institutional arrangements that enable work? What is professional work, exactly? Why do professional occupations receive greater rewards than others? How do individuals experience work? What are the trends reshaping work into the 21st century? This course will introduce you to topics and concepts that are essential to a sociological understanding of work and occupations. We will cover the theoretical and policy debates on work and occupations, the polarisation of the labour market into “good” and “bad” jobs, the promises and perils of the gig economy, the occupational professionalisation, work at the organisational and individual level, managerial practices and workers’ responses to these practices, meanings individuals attach to their work, and how work can affect our health and wellbeing.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January


  • Work and occupations: Introduction
  • Work and occupations: Historical perspectives
  • Contemporary debates on work (1)
  • Contemporary debates on work (2)
  • Good jobs, bad jobs, no jobs (1)
  • Good jobs, bad jobs, no jobs (2)
  • The professions and professionalisation (1)
  • The professions and professionalisation (2)
  • Managing work in organisations
  • Worker resistance and employer control
  • Work values and work orientations
  • Job satisfaction, alienation and work-related stress

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the main concepts and theories connected to the sociology of work and occupations
  • Examine the changes in the social and economic organisation of work over time
  • Analyse the key issues related to work in contemporary Singapore and other societies
  • Apply course material to real work and daily life examples
  • Evaluate various social and economic policy initiatives by which problems related to work might be addressed
  • Demonstrate skills in analytical thinking and written and spoken expression
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