This article reviews a range of new and established writing on deindustrialisation. It traces the origins of the concept from its popularisation in the early 1980s with the onset of large scale loss in the industrial regions of North America and Europe. We argue that with the passage of time, the academic field of deindustrialisation has matured as the scale and consequences of industrial loss become more apparent. We suggest here that sociology has not made the contribution it could have in this debate and that one of the key strengths of the area is its interdisciplinary nature; especially from disciplines such as geography, anthropology, and social history. Its key aim is to explain why this is the case and suggest that by fully engaging with the issue of deindustrialisation and the range of new material available, the sociology of economic life can develop a more rounded account both of work and its absence. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.