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RETHINKING ECONOMIC STRUCTURE: EXPLORING THE ROLE OF THE SMALL FIRM AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT IN THE BRITISH ECONOMY

James Curran
Work, Employment & Society
Vol. 4, Special Issue (May 1990), pp. 125-146
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23746152
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
RETHINKING ECONOMIC STRUCTURE: EXPLORING THE ROLE OF THE SMALL FIRM AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT IN THE BRITISH ECONOMY
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Abstract

Dominant sociological interpretations of the economic structures of industrial societies have long neglected the role of small scale economic activities. However, current rethinking, stimulated by attempts to explain economic restructuring in the 1980s, appears to offer petty capitalism and self-employment a more important role in the economy. Several versions of economic restructuring theory are examined critically and argued to continue to offer an inadequate account of the role of small scale enterprise in the economy and especially of the social reality of small scale enterprise ownership, organisational patterns and employment. Conceptual and theoretical issues relevant to a more direct focus on small scale economic activities are explored together with a review of studies of a wide range of aspects of such activities. The paper ends by arguing for the continuing importance of small scale economic activities in industrial societies and the need for analyses of economic restructuring and, more fundamentally economic sociology generally, to incorporate a proper recognition of small scale economic activities and self-employment.

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