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How the Other Half Works

Immigration and the Social Organization of Labor

Roger Waldinger (Author), Michael I. Lichter (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 299 pages
ISBN: 9780520231627
March 2003
$31.95, £27.00
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How the Other Half Works solves the riddle of America's contemporary immigration puzzle: why an increasingly high-tech society has use for so many immigrants who lack the basic skills that today's economy seems to demand. In clear and engaging style, Waldinger and Lichter isolate the key factors that explain the presence of unskilled immigrants in our midst. Focusing on Los Angeles, the capital of today's immigrant America, this hard-hitting book elucidates the other side of the new economy, showing that hiring is finding not so much "one's own kind" but rather the "right kind" to fit the demeaning, but indispensable, jobs many American workers disdain.
Terms used in this book

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: What Empoyers Want
Chapter 3: Doing the Job: Skills and the Social Organization of Work
Chapter 4: The Language of Work
Chapter 5: Network, Bureaucracy, Exclusion
Chapter 6: Ethnic Networks and Social Closure
Chapter 7: Bringing the Boss Back In: Selection and Hiring Decisions
Chapter 8: Whom Employers Want
Chapter 9: Us and them
Chapter 10: Diversity and Conflict
Chapter 11: Black/Immigrant Competition
Chapter 12: How the other half works

Appendix: the Local and economic context
The six industries
Roger Waldinger is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Still the Promised City? African-Americans and New Immigrants in Post-industrial New York (1996), which won the Robert Park Award of the American Sociological Association, editor of Strangers at the Gates: New Immigrants in Urban America (California, 2001), and author of several other publications. Michael I. Lichter is Assistant Professor of Sociology, State University of New York at Buffalo.
“This is a significant and innovative contribution to labor, immigration, and ethnic studies.”—Choice: Current Reviews For Academic Libraries
“It is a good read.”—Lynne M. Gilli Workforce Education Forum
"In this masterpiece of field research into the social processes that structure America's economy, Waldinger and Lichter unveil the most original and powerful theory ever advanced to explain how 'unskilled' immigrants have come to work at remarkably high rates while inner city blacks continue to languish. Like Wilson's When Work Disappears and Massey and Denton's American Apartheid, How the Other Half Works will set the stage for a new era of poverty research. In its focus on Los Angeles as the quintessential suburban metropolis and as an exemplar of multi-ethnic America, it may also one day be seen as the founding text in a new LA School of Urban Sociology."—Mitchell Duneier, author of Sidewalk and Slim's Table

"How the Other Half Works is unreservedly one of the most important works on immigration and its relation to the social nature of work in contemporary America. Addressing several of the most vexing 'race' and labor issues of our time, it offers original and persuasive answers that challenge the prevailing wisdom of economists. Grounded in the best tradition of empirical sociology, the work is richly documented, vigorously argued, and clearly presented. With this landmark study, Roger Waldinger (working in tandem with co-author Michael Lichter) confirms his stature as the nation's leading sociologist of immigration."—Orlando Patterson, author of The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in America's "Racial" Crisis

"Based on detailed interviews with a sample of employers of low-wage labor in six Los Angeles industries, Waldinger and Lichter provide a vivid and informative account of social dynamics at the bottom of the labor market. The book builds and extends prior theories of immigration and labor and makes a compelling case for why a sociological standpoint is indispensable for the analysis of these processes."—Alejandro Portes, co-author of Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America

"Waldinger and Lichter offer a lucid and penetrating look at the micro-social structure of hiring, firing, and earning in the modern, post-industrial economy. This book should be required reading for people who glibly use the term 'free market.'"—Douglas S. Massey, Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

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