Sociology Index

WORKING CLASS

Working class in Marxian sense refers to those who work for a living, employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work; the proletariat. Working class is a term used generally to refer to those who are employed in lower tier jobs as measured by education, skill and compensation. In Britain, working class generally includes skilled and unskilled manual workers, and sometimes lower levels of white-collar workers. Working Class Culture developed during the Industrial Revolution. The term Middle-class can also be used statistically to define a group of individuals who occupy an intermediate position in a society's income strata. Working classes are mainly found in urban areas in industrialized economies and are contrasted with the upper class and middle-class with reference to education, occupation, culture, and income. Working class is similar in meaning to lower class unless it is used in a more Marxian sense. Working class can also mean of, or pertaining to working class, as when we talk about working class mentality.

The traditional working class is sometimes also referred to as being part of the lower class. Just like the middle and upper classes, the lower class can be divided into subsets: the working class, the working poor, and the underclass. Traditional working-class people have less of an educational background and usually earn smaller incomes. There are many working-class trades that require skill and pay middle-class wages, though the majority of the working class jobs require little prior skill or experience, doing routine tasks under close supervision. Traditional working-class people, the highest subcategory of the lower class, are usually equated with blue-collar types of jobs.

Working-Class Women in London Local Politics, 1894–1914.
KIM YOONOK STENBERG, Montgomery College.
Were there any working class women party activists? Then what was the profile of a typical working-class party woman? First, she came not from destitute situations but from the labour aristocracy. Second, working-class party women were likely to be married, unlike their middle-class counterparts, most of whom were spinsters. Third, many working-class or lower-middle-class women party activists were married to local politicians and notables, whose presence eased their political entry. Fourth, working-class political women were concentrated in a few specific working-class districts, such as Poplar, Southwark, and Woolwich in the case of London. Finally, it was the Labour movement that provided the most hospitable environment for working-class women's political mobilization.

The Neighborhood Politics of Class in a Working-Class Suburb of Los Angeles, 1920-1940. Becky M. Nicolaides, University of California-San Diego. In interwar Los Angeles, the politics of the neighborhood took on immense importance in the lives of white, working-class families. A close study of South Gate, a blue-collar suburb in southern Los Angeles, reveals that home ownership became central to the political identity of local residents. In these years, the peculiar nature of working-class suburbia lent a highly class-sensitive spin to that identity; working-class homeowners were fiercely concerned with protecting the modest economic security that home ownership gave them, particularly in the precarious years before the welfare state. When local merchants sought to raise taxes, to finance their broader goal of developing the suburb’s infrastructure as a means of stimulating local business, working-class families mobilized politically to resist. Local politics became a series of battles between South Gate’s merchants and working-class residents, focused on taxation and development.

A Divided Working Class? Planning and Career Perception in the Service and Working Classes 
Yaojun Li, University of Manchester - Frank Bechhofer, University of Edinburgh - Robert Stewart, MVA Scotland - David McCrone, Michael Anderson, Lynn Jamieson, University of Edinburgh. The contrast between the service class and the working class is central to much class analysis. The working class is not homogeneous in all respects. This paper focuses on a sizeable group within the working class who perceive themselves as having a career. They demonstrate degrees of planning, in work and non-work areas, strikingly comparable to service class respondents, and significantly greater than working class respondents without career perceptions. This exercise of forethought is materially aided by this group's possession of rather greater resources of various kinds than the rest of the working class. The findings suggest strongly that a willingness to exercise or not to exercise forethought sharply distinguishes two groups within the working class, and may indicate a significant and hitherto unreported cleavage worthy of further investigation.