Under Construction

Work and Alienation in the Building Trades

By Marc L. Silver

Subjects: Sociology Of Work
Series: SUNY series in the Sociology of Work and Organizations
Paperback : 9780887063091, 251 pages, September 1986
Hardcover : 9780887063084, 251 pages, October 1986

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Table of contents


1. Introduction: Contracting, Craft, and Control
2. Working at the Construction Site: Autonomy, Management, and Control
3. Trade Unions, Contractors, and Employment
4. Alienation and the Labor Process
5. Crisis in Construction: Toward a Strategy for Overcoming Market Forces in Labor Relations and Housing Production

Appendix A. Research Methodology
Appendix B. Glossary of Terms and Variables
Appendix C. Survey Instruments
Index of Proper Names
Subject Index


Under Construction offers a unique examination of organization and work in the construction industry. Synthesizing organizational and labor relations orientations, it develops a comprehensive sociological perspective on work relations in construction. Silver examines the effects of local market conditions, employers' demands, and trade union activities on the daily lives of workers—skilled as well as unskilled.

The book also challenges popular myths about construction work and the building trades with analyses of construction sites, hiring practices, and workers' reactions to the conditions of their work. Under Construction powerfully demonstrates the need for new industrial approaches by concluding with a series of practical alternatives to current practices in the industry's housing sector.

Marc L. Silver is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hofstra University.


"This is a thorough study of construction work in its own right, but broadens its focus to address larger intellectual issues. It is a refreshing mixture of quantitative and qualitative scholarship with political analysis and commentary. " — Paul Attewell