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Moral Gray Zones:
Side Productions, Identity, and Regulation in an Aeronautic Plant
Michel Anteby

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"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


"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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File created: 4/21/2017

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