In the last decades, the use and meaning of the concept of career has profoundly changed, shaped by a ‘new career’ literature rhetoric and a move away from mainstream sociological debate. Our aim in this article is to provide a critical assessment of the concept, and to make a productive contribution to the current debate on careers, and work more generally. Specifically, we seek to: (i) critique the lack of elaboration of the concept within the discipline of sociology in recent years; (ii) reposition the concept of careers as a key sociological category; and (iii) assess and reorient the current meanings of career. After tracing the history of career from linear to boundaryless, we situate the concept in a broader sociological understanding of gender and habitus and structure and agency, and through a methodological discussion of narrative approaches for studying careers. These concepts and approaches are especially effective for understanding careers. Having showed the added value of the concept of career for sociology, we conclude with a research agenda which attempts to overcome the voluntaristic pitfall of its use in recent years and opens up a more thoughtful and articulated understanding of careers for both teaching and research.

Sociological Conceptualizations of ‘career’: A Review and Reorientation

Valentina Cuzzocrea;
2011

Abstract

In the last decades, the use and meaning of the concept of career has profoundly changed, shaped by a ‘new career’ literature rhetoric and a move away from mainstream sociological debate. Our aim in this article is to provide a critical assessment of the concept, and to make a productive contribution to the current debate on careers, and work more generally. Specifically, we seek to: (i) critique the lack of elaboration of the concept within the discipline of sociology in recent years; (ii) reposition the concept of careers as a key sociological category; and (iii) assess and reorient the current meanings of career. After tracing the history of career from linear to boundaryless, we situate the concept in a broader sociological understanding of gender and habitus and structure and agency, and through a methodological discussion of narrative approaches for studying careers. These concepts and approaches are especially effective for understanding careers. Having showed the added value of the concept of career for sociology, we conclude with a research agenda which attempts to overcome the voluntaristic pitfall of its use in recent years and opens up a more thoughtful and articulated understanding of careers for both teaching and research.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/116823
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