The meaning of work in a developing society : a rural South African study

Sully, Preis Max (1994) The meaning of work in a developing society : a rural South African study. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The primary aim of this thesis is to explore, at a psychological level, the meaning of work in a rural developing society context. Additional aims comprise: the examination of distinctions in the meaning of work between different occupational niches; and the development of an appropriate conceptual and methodological approach for understanding meaning of work issues in developing society contexts. The research was conducted in the Keiskammahoek district situated in Ciskei, a South African homeland area. Demographically, the area comprises farms, small rural villages and one small town. It has traditionally fulfilled the role of a labour reserve, and the local economy largely depends on income generated through migrant labour. The population predominantly comprises indigenous Xhosa speakers, although a few whites, individuals of mixed racial origin and other ethnic groups are represented. In order to accommodate the diversity of work experience in rural society, an approach was adopted which relied on the participants' subjective definition of work. A conscious attempt was made to avoid defining work exclusively as remunerated employment. At a metatheoretical level, the meaning of work model used is grounded in Kelly's (1955) Personal Construct Theory. It comprises three facets, namely process, context and content. A multiple case study analysis was carried design was used, through to a in which nomothetic idiographic level of understanding. The primary' research instrument comprised an interview, in which data was derived from life-history material, a repertory grid, and focused interview questions. In the development of case studies, a process of triangulation was used to link the three sources of data. The thesis explores the relationship between participants and their work in several ways. First, it looks at how work and non-work are constituted and related to one another, and at how personally valuable work is contrasted to less valuable work. Second, it explores the relationship between the individual's orientation to work and their life and occupational context. Finally, it discusses the proposal that work meanings change and evolve with the development of the individual, and with shifts in social and historical circumstance.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Work, Ciskei, South Africa, Keiskammahoek
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
Supervisors:Gilbert, Andrew
ID Code:4077
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:19 Nov 2012 06:30
Last Modified:19 Nov 2012 06:30
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