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Moral Gray Zones: Side Productions, Identity, and Regulation in an Aeronautic Plant Hardcover – July 21, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"Moral Gray Zones is an important book for scholars of organizations to be aware of and read, especially to continue building empirical knowledge of the subterranean administration and underlife of workplaces. . . . Moral Gray Zones is argued well, accessible and does what very good research should do--advance knowledge in a field for others to evaluate, contest, affirm and advance."--David Shulman, Contemporary Sociology

"Scholars of organizational deviance will . . . find it to be particularly illuminating. Moral Gray Zones would be apposite for a senior, undergraduate level course as it makes both substantive and theoretical contributions to our understanding of gray zones in organizations."--Dale Spencer, Canadian Journal of Sociology

"The deep and lucid writing style and clear structure of the book make it enjoyable reading. . . . The book is recommended reading for sociologists and business scholars alike who are interested in organization studies, and more specifically in workplace studies. It will be of particular interest to scholars and graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of the sociology of work, organizational sociology, sociology of occupations and professions and also economic sociology. The book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the social system of production, the interface between vertical and horizontal forms of work, and of the centrality of creativity and self expression even in large bureaucracies."--Asaf Darr, ASQ Review

"I recommend this book to anyone interested in workplace behavior and worker control and for use in undergraduate and graduate courses on work--not only for what it reveals about organizational gray zones but also for what it offers students: opportunities to apply Anteby's logic to what they have observed in their own workplaces and to use what they know about industrial segments, occupational divides, gender segregation, and other topics to answer some of these questions for themselves."--Martha Crowley, Work and Occupations

"Moral Gray Zones is a sophisticated and thought-provoking work. . . . [T]he book should be of great interest to those studying status-ordering in organizations, the informal organization of work, or the intermingling of identity and control."--Tim Bartley, American Journal of Sociology

From the Back Cover

"In this sparkling book, Michel Anteby challenges managerial images of polished efficient organizations that relegate employees' personal relations and private goals to a controlled periphery. As he focuses a skilled ethnographer's attention on the production of unauthorized personal objects within a French aeronautical factory, Anteby gradually reveals a profound truth about paid labor for others: workers make labor contracts bearable for themselves by creating space for their own creativity and relations to fellow workers."--Viviana Zelizer, author of The Purchase of Intimacy

"Moral Gray Zones is superb. Rich, judicious, and well written, this trenchant portrayal of how control really gets done, moves the sociology of meaning forward."--Harrison White, author of Identity and Control

"Moral Gray Zones brings classical mid-twentieth-century social theory into the twenty-first century. This lively look at a dying trade--craft workers in the modern factory--has relevance to almost any work world today. In fine detail, Anteby makes it clear that beneath surface performance contracts and economic exchanges at work lies a rich if hidden interaction in which laborers seek dignity and respect for what they do from coworkers and managers. That they succeed more often than not makes for a terrific tale of considerable interest--dramatically and theoretically. A marvelous book."--John Van Maanen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"The book channels the spirit of industrial sociology of the 1950s, when students of work and organization encountered the shop floor up close and came away understanding how everyday behaviors formed the woof and warp of industrialization's social fabric. Anteby's use of the production of homers for understanding relations between workers and managers is ingenious."--Stephen R. Barley, Stanford University

"An accessible good read, Moral Gray Zones makes a distinct contribution toward the understanding of informal structures, situated moralities, occupational cultures, and systems of control."--Peter V. Marsden, Harvard University

"Moral Gray Zones is first-rate qualitative organizational analysis. Effectively organized and cogently argued, I was impressed by Anteby's marshalling of diverse streams of evidence. The extension of his ideas through the vast literature on multiple occupations is particularly stimulating."--Calvin Morrill, University of California, Irvine


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069113524X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691135243
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,798,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding organizational control, occupational culture, and occupational identity. I read this book as part of a class on ethnography, and it was one of our class's favorite sessions. The book is beautifully written and the analysis throughout is trenchant. Once you start reading, it is difficult to put down!
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