© 2011

Work and Identity

Historical and Cultural Contexts


Part of the Identity Studies in the Social Sciences book series (IDS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction

    1. John Kirk, Christine Wall
      Pages 1-18
  3. Work and Identity: Exploring History, Culture and Subjectivity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. John Kirk, Christine Wall
      Pages 77-98
  4. Work and Social Identity: Teaching, Banking and Railway Work

  5. Articulating Work Identities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 177-177
    2. John Kirk, Christine Wall
      Pages 225-231
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 232-254

About this book


This book presents an accessible and fascinating account of theoretical debates around identity and work, recent empirical trends and methodological arguments concerning the role of oral testimony and its interpretation. Focusing on three occupational sectors in particular teachers, bank workers and the railway industry it also presents an argument that is both more general than this and theoretically and analytically wide-ranging. The book explores some important questions: how are workers, both in the past and the present juncture, socialised into work cultures? What are the cultural and structural differences with regard the world of work across class, gender, and generation? What are the historical conditions of which these differences play a part? How is the idea of work found in a range of representations, from artistic production to sociological discourse expressed and explored? The development of concepts such as 'structures of feeling' and affect, and the weaving in of historical and visual material, make the book important to a wide range of readers including ethnographers, cultural sociologists and narrative researchers. In turn, this book offers an authoritative and sophisticated summary and analysis of work and identity and is an important intervention into mainstream sociology concerns.


education identity occupations Union work

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.London Metropolitan UniversityUK
  2. 2.University of WestminsterUK

About the authors

JOHN KIRK Senior Research Fellow at the Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University, UK. He is author of Class, Culture and Social Change: On the Trail of the Working Class, and The British Working Class in the Twentieth Century: Film, Literature and Television. He is currently completing a book on European identity communities.
CHRISTINE WALL Senior Research Fellow at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster and Deputy Director of ProBE (Centre for Research into the Production of the Built Environment). She is currently Principal Investigator on the Leverhulme Trust funded research project 'Constructing Post-War Britain: building workers' stories 1950-70'.

Bibliographic information