How Employment Generates Social Integration: Trends Towards Disintegration and Over-Integration in the Hyper-Work Society
Using an analytical framework that further develops Jahoda’s ideas and distinguishes between two manifest and five latent mechanisms for the production of employment-based social integration, three research questions are examined: How does employment generate social integration in German welfare capitalism? How have these employment-based integration mechanisms changed in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) since the Second World War? What dangers to social integration can be identified because of these changes? The manifest mechanisms establish socio-economic integration directly via employment or indirectly through de-commodifying welfare state interventions. The latent mechanisms ensure that social relationships can be formed by providing a time structure, extending social contacts, enabling participation in collective goals, offering collective identities and activating people. We analyse different social orders at the macro-level (labour and social legislation), meso-level (company structures, industrial relations, work environments) and micro-level (employment relationships, household models, action orientations, subjective identifications) of society to identify conditions that promote or endanger social integration. On the one hand, the danger of over-integration (reflected in the term “hyper-work society”), which arises from generalising employment-related performance and exploitation criteria, erects integration barriers for other forms of social integration beyond employment because alternative premises for organising one’s life are devalued by predominantly adopting capitalist criteria of social recognition. On the other hand, the binding power of employment and the integrative power of workplaces are weakened by disintegrative trends such as insecure employment, blurring organisational boundaries, as well as fragmentation of employment and social relations, jeopardising social integration through employment.
Grimm, Natalie, Andrea Hense und Berthold Vogel. 2023. How Employment Generates Social Integration: Trends Towards Disintegration and Over-Integration in the Hyper-Work Society. In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 75, Nr. 3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11577-023-00903-5.