Division of labour

Division of labour
Order Description
This exercise is designed to familiarise you with some of the key economic concepts in the course. The task is to take one of the key concepts from the beginning of the course and relate it to the interests of social policy and research. First, choose one of the three readings below and the concept that goes with it. You will need to explain what the concept is and how the reading develops it. You then need to link this concept to a current policy or social research concern. For example, you might discuss how the division of labour relates to the paid care workforce, or to hospital reforms, or you might discuss how commodification applies to the delivery of social services, where the distinction between producer and consumer is less stark than for physical commodities. You are not expected to go into depth. Rather the exercise is designed to demonstrate your understanding and ability to apply concepts. Briefly explaining the key aspects of the concept and one potential implication is all that is required.

Remember too, this is a short exercise. It is not designed as a research assignment, although you may wish to refer to a few additional references. Instead the focus is on demonstrating that you understand the argument and can relate the concept to social analysis.


Division of labour. Smith, A 1952, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, London, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chapters 1-3: 3-10.
Yes, the guidelines state that you will pick one concept from the several concepts covered at the beginning of the unit. In the example of division of labour, it may relate to social policy on paid care workforce through the specialisations developed in nursing, such that there are now nursing assistants to free up some of the work previously done by nurses. This is just an example; you can find other concepts in the unit and relate them to social research or policy.

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