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October 1991
272 pages  

6 x 9
9780822954538
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Affirmative Action at Work
Law, Politics, and Ethics
Taylor, Bron
This work presents a comprehensive picture of the cross-pressures-the racial fears and antagonisms, the moral, ethical, and religious views about fairness and opportunity, the rigid ideas-that guide popular attitudes about affirmative action. Using theoretical and empirical data, Taylor deconstructs the views of a group of workers in the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

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Bron Raymond Taylor is professor of religion and nature at the University of Florida.
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Political Science/Policy, Theory, Law
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Bron Taylor unites theoretical and applied social science to analyze a salient contemporary moral and political problem. Three decades after the passage of civil rights laws, criteria for hiring and promotion to redress past discrimination and the sensitive “quota” question are still unresolved issues.

Taylor reviews the works of prominent social scientists and philosophers on the moral and legal principles underlying affirmative action, and examines them in light of his own empirical study. Using participant observation, in-depth interviewing, and a detailed questionnaire, he examines the attitudes of four groups in the California Department of Parks and Recreation: male and female, white and nonwhite workers. Because the department has implemented a strong program for ten years, its employees have had firsthand experience with affirmative action. Their views about the rights of minorities in the economy are often surprising.

This work presents a comprehensive picture of the cross-pressures-the racial fears and antagonisms, the moral, ethical, and religious views about fairness and opportunity, the rigid ideas-that guide popular attitudes.

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“This study succeeds in that it takes existing theories on distributive justice, articulates the normative implications of these theories, and proceeds to evaluate their external validity in light of the evidence collected. It also expands our understanding of how individuals reconcile their beliefs about affirmative action policies with the tenets of liberalism as the dominant moral and ethical philosophy of this country.”—Administrative Science Quarterly

“By telling us how workers are reacting to the program, [Taylor] probes deeply and delicately into the recesses of an important public policy issue that is often only superficially explored. . . . Affirmative Action at Work is thus a 'must read' for anyone who is interested in either affirmative action policy specifically, or personnel policy generally.”—Public Administrative Review

“Affirmative Action at Work provides an excellent introduction to the legal and ethical issues that comprise the current debate over the legitimacy of affirmative action programs. Moreover, the book affords the reader a rare insight into how members of the work force who, on a daily basis, see and feel the impact of affirmative action view the issue.”—Michigan Law Review

“His perspective is fresh and rich. . . . The book breaks new ground in that it examines this explosive topic rigorously. . . . His book is academic, but readable. Indeed, it ought to be read.”—Milwaukee Journal


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