Work and human dignity from The Hedgehog Review

The Hedgehog Review, “Work and Dignity” issue, Fall 2012

The Hedgehog Review, an excellent non-fiction journal published by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, spotlights the topic of “Work and Dignity” in its Fall 2012 issue. Here are the featured pieces, two of which (Snyder and Rose/Crawford) are freely accessible online:

Dignity and the Professionalized Body: Truck Driving in the Age of Instant Gratification (Benjamin H. Snyder)

Meaningful Work and Politics (Russell Muirhead)

The Social Meanings of Dignity at Work (Allison J. Pugh)

Work and Dignity: A Conversation between Mike Rose and Matthew Crawford

Human Agency and the Ethics of Meaningful Work: A Bibliographic Essay (William Hasselberger)

The journal also is available by subscription, and I’ve seen it in the periodical sections at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Silent on bullying?

Alas, my quick review of the full issue turned up nothing specific about workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment. That’s a shame, because these forms of abuse are a paramount denial of individual dignity at work. Despite significant progress in “mainstreaming” workplace bullying as an employee relations issue, this omission is a sign that we still have a ways to go.

Nevertheless, the issue looks to be a good one, and — obviously — the more we can get the concept of human dignity into our everyday discussions of work, the better.

Also recommended

For those who want to delve more into the general subject of dignity at work:

In 1997, The Hedgehog Review published a thematic issue on Human Dignity and Justice, including Michael Zuckert’s excellent essay, “Human Dignity and the Basis of Justice: Freedom, Rights, and the Self.”

Sociologist Randy Hodson’s Dignity at Work (2001) remains a valuable contribution to the literature.

I’m always happy to suggest Robert W. Fuller’s work on “rankism” and the need for a “dignitarian” society, especially his books All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (2006); Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank (2003); and a shorter volume co-authored with Pamela A. Gerloff, Dignity for All: How to Create a World Without Rankism (2008).

Among several recent, thought-provoking books on the subject of dignity generally, my favorite is by international conflict resolution expert Donna Hicks, Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict (2011), mentioned before on this blog.

Closer to home

For several years, it has been my pleasure to serve on the global advisory board of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network, led by Drs. Evelin Lindner and Linda Hartling.

My 2009 law review article, Human Dignity and American Employment Law, attempts to pull together a wide variety of employment and labor law topics under the dignity umbrella.

4 responses

  1. David, what a great post filled with material I need to look up and read! You are a great resource. With these trending topics of dignity and work, meaningful work, and ethics and meaningful work, it is only a matter of time before bullying and its negative health, cultural and profit impact is one of the front and center topics. Thanks again! Warm Regards,

    Kevin Kennemer Principal | The People Group™

    Join the Best Places to Work movement and subscribe to the nationally-recognized blog.

    Sent from my virtual office via my iPhone 4GS by AT&T

  2. Work and Human dignity, now there is an amazing concept!! Well I cannot speak for everyone but the High School i went to and the college taught us that work is a large part of our identity and that taking pride in our work and working hard would gain us respect and give us a sense of accomplishment and self respect. Along with those things comes dignity. I wonder what happened since 1979 when i left school and entered the workforce full time? Well i guess one could ponder that dignity is for the big wig executives and that since they generally are not good for much else they probably get their dignity and joy form their yachts and million dollar homes in the Hamptons!! But i have a hunch that it goes beyond that. I wonder if the Workplace Bullying law is not gaining ground or getting passed because Employers are banging down Legislatures doors in opposition? You see we already have a system in place, called Human rights where Employers cannot discriminate against people because of race, religion, sex, national origin etc. Lets be candid for a minute Employers rarely do that because if they did they would not have any slaves to do their jobs and then they wouldnt have time to sit on their yachts. Think about it for a minute, majority of people go to church, many employees today are of ethnic backgrounds, sex is what it is there are only two male and female. I wonder if the truth is that the only way employers really have to abuse and use workers is to not have a law like Workplace Bullying, becasue if they did they really wouldnt have anything left as power or a way to beat employees into the ground except to fire them under the at will employment law. I think employers will fight this Bill because they as it stands now can treat an employee any way they wish as long as it is not under the current human rights protected class law. Dignity at work, only for the big wigs!!!!!!!!!!

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