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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Working, Living, and Belonging


What is work? Who is a worker? How does law and social policy shape our understandings of these terms? What is at stake when only wage workers are endowed with worker status? That limitation excludes unpaid caregiving and other forms of nonmarket production. Indeed, even within waged work, specific forms of employment take precedence, privileging industrial jobs associated with adult white men and marginalizing much agricultural, household, and other service work. How does this dual structure, both bounding and dividing labor markets, create precarious conditions for people of color, immigrants, women, and others who face exclusion from privileged forms of work, consignment to subordinated forms of work, and denial that their labors constitute work at all?

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