Developing segmentation theory: a thirty years perspective

Segmentation theories of the 1970s  made employing organisations the central agents in the shaping of labour market inequality. These theories can be critiqued for offering a very partial and static institutional analysis of labour markets that was also highly American centric.  To remedy these problems three developments were required:  to regard strategies by employers and workers as influenced not only by capital-labour conflicts but also by dynamics of inter-capitalist or inter-worker competition; to introduce supply-side segmentation, including gender, as a factor shaping the creation of  good and bad jobs; and to allow for  the impact of variations in national institutional arrangements on the strategies and practices of employers. In combining segmentation with societal analysis it remains vital to continue to see employers as active agents and not, as in current employment debates, to allow their influence in shaping the national and international employment landscape to remain hidden and unexplored.

Rubery.J, Socio-Économie du Travail n°28 (Économies et Sociétés, tome XLI), juin 2007, p.941-964.

Page d’accueil / Home Page