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Industrial Relations and the Social Sciences
Industrial relations and the social sciences

We begin with a paradox. The broad subject matter of Industrial Relations (IR)-the regulation of work and employment-is as topical today as it ever was. Yet IR as a traditional academic field of study, centered on trade unions and collective bargaining, now touches only a very limited part of contemporary working life (Ackers, 2004). As Gospel (2006) notes, it is important to keep in mind the distinction between the real world subject and the field of study, while recognizing that there is a dynamic relationship between the two. This is particularly true of the applied social sciences, where the dialogue between academic ideas and public policy is especially intimate. Just as social policy was ...

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