Sociology Index

WORKING CLASS

Books on Working Class, Working class culture, Lower class culture, Middle-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 (perhaps synonymous with blue-collar workers) and sometimes lower levels of white-collar workers.

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.

Working-Class Women in London Local Politics, 1894–1914 
KIM YOONOK STENBERG, Montgomery College 
In the class-bound society of late Victorian and Edwardian England, those few women who dared to enter into the rough and tumble world of local politics were often middle-class ladies who had leisure, confidence, and connections. Were there any working class women party activists? The answer is ‘yes’. Then what was the profile of a typical working-class party woman? First, she came not from destitute situations but from the labour aristocracy. Or some women activists might be even properly considered belonging to the lower echelon of the middle class. 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. South Gate’s native-born, white residents embraced the tenets of "plain folk Americanism," which valued self-help, hard work, and individualism. Accordingly, they drew on sweat equity to build their own homes and grow food on their property, as a means of achieving some independence from cash wages. 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 (or having had) a career. As well as having this perception, they exhibit a forward-looking perspective, both in the world of employment and with regard to more general planning. 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. But this is by no means the whole story. 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.