This work offers a firm theoretical foundation for discussing the self-employed, their role over time, and the formulation of policy towards them. It is a comprehensive analysis of self-employment to integrate legal, sociological, and economic theory. Linder offers a conceptual critique of the underpinnigs of the category of the self-employed that calls into question the theoretical coherence of the traditional approaches. He views the current debate over the recent alleged growth in self-employment in the context of the casualization and externalization of employment relationships - such as part-time, temporary, home, leased, and subcontracted labour - designed to forge "just-in-time" work forces derived of traditional benefits and labour organizations. And he shows the chief source of data on the self-employed, collected by the Bureau of the Census, to be seriously flawed and the generally-accepted notion of the self-employed to be grossly overinclusive. This work should be of interest to sociologists, labour lawyers and labour law scholars, and economists in labour studies, industrial relations, and industrial organization.