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post-industrial class estructrues.pdf

post-industrial class estructrues.pdf

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Gøsta Esping-Andersen

Estudio/Working Paper 1992/38 April 1992

Gøsta Esping-Andersen is a professor of the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy). He presented this paper at a seminar held at the Center for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences of the Juan March Institute in Madrid, on April 24, 1992.


INTRODUCTION Much of the discipline of Sociology was built around the concept of social class. Today, its privileged analytical position seems less secure, and class analysis may even join the many anachronisms that our immature science has accumulated over the years. As witnessed by the recent, magistral study by Eriksson and Goldthorpe (1992), important studies of social class have certainly not been abandoned entirely. Still, it is symptomatic that Goldthorpe and Marshall (1991) have authored a follow-up paper entitled “The Promising Future of Class Analysis” which, in large part, defends its relevance against the increasingly vocal sceptics. However, the sceptics engaged in an active dialogue may be less of a problem than the much larger silent majority for whom the subject has become hopelessly unworthy of mention. The concept of class risks becoming little else than the button we press when it is suitable to invoke the colorful historical imagery of red banners waving on the May-day parades, outraged and sooty mineworkers huddling on the picket-lines, or a wild-eyed, intense revolutionary swaying proletarian masses with patches on their best Sunday suit. Ideological distaste undoubtedly motivates some to hasten the demise of class theory. But it is probably for its seeming incompatibility with modern social reality that most are partisan to its silent death. The notion of a class-ridden society may, today, seem quite moribund. But, then, so it did numerous times. In the 1950s, the end of ideology thesis argued that the class struggle had been arrested by working class affluence, only to be followed in the 1960s by extreme levels of militancy and conflict. Then arose the problem of the new salariat, the ever-growing middle classes, and the professional elites. And now the old cornerstone of class theory, the industrial working class, is in rapid decline. The erosion of our traditional class structure is what many scholars associate with the coming post-industrial society. Is post-industrial society the culmination of a long and steady process of class structural erosion, or is it the midwife of an entirely new class system? In the voluminous literature on postindustrial society, there is probably none who argues that inequalities and social stratification


will come to an end. On the contrary. But, the question is whether the emerging structure of employment, of life chances, and of inequality can be fruitfully understood with our inherited theories of class. The starting point of this paper is that any attempt to empirically address this question should lay aside the classical conceptual apparatus of social classes. Most of the literature that has emerged on the employment effects of post-industrialism shares two common features. One, virtually all assume cross-national convergence, largely because of an exaggerated adherence to technological or growth-based explanations of change. Two, most approaches to “post-industrial” stratification are couched in the classical conceptual apparatus of class. This means that our understanding of stratification in the “new” society derives from theories formulated for the purpose of elucidating the era of industrial capitalism. Put differently, such analyses assume a fordist reality in a post-fordist era. These features constrain both empirical research and theoretical innovation. Firstly, it is not that technology and income growth are unimportant engines of change, only that their impact must be analyzed in terms of how they are institutionally filtered. The point is that similar technological innovations and economic growth take place in institutional settings that diverge. The advanced capitalist societies are regulated by institutions that hardly existed in the era of industrialization: the welfare state, collective bargaining systems, mass education, and the modern corporation have emerged as important, if not decisive, institutional filters. Nations vary dramatically with regard to these regulatory institutions, and it is therefore naive to assume convergent trends in employment and stratification. We should, secondly, question the continued fruitfulness of orthodox class theories. The idea of class in marxism assumed a naked and un-mediated relationship between capital and labor, be it in the labor market or in workplace. Similarly, the Weberian legacy generally assumes market hegemony as the mainsprings of life-chance stratification, although bureaucracy was viewed as an alternative and, to Dahrendorf (1959) increasingly dominant, means of building social hierarchies.

secondly. Wright (1985). Is such a class emerging and. a debate that calls into question the validity of our traditional criteria for class assignment. institutions not only modify employment relations but also actively shape the direction of change. been a flourishing debate on the “new class”. delegated authority and the exercise of autonomy and discretion. In recent years there has. to propose a set of hypotheses regarding cross-national divergence with particular address to the size and character of the potential post-industrial proletariat. what are the conditions under which it may emerge? The objective of this paper is. much less attention has been paid to the class structure in general. not as a sworn adherent to the theories that begot the concept. and to the possible evolution of a new post-industrial proletariat in particular. Bell (1976) emphasizes the control of scientific knowledge. Thus. and social closure. Cohen & Zysman. how do we identify it? What are its relations to other classes? What are its specific selection and reproduction mechanisms? And. firstly. I shall use the term in an heuristic way. in particular. the control of culture. in characterizing the distinctiveness of the “new class”. however. an Adam Smithian world of unfettered markets. if so. If. In this treatise. post-industrial society is characterized by service employment dominance and The concept of post-industrial society is often. orthodox class theory is nested in an institutionally “naked” world. the control of skill-and organizational assets. continued adherence to orthodoxy may seriously block one’s capacity to identify qualitatively new axes of social division. to develop a conceptual scheme for the analysis of social stratification in post-industrial society. 1 . While new principles for class analysis have been charted for the professional-managerial cadres. CLASS AND STRATIFICATION IN POST-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY Post-industrial theory has its pessimistic and optimistic scenarios. criticized for its implicit assumption of a societal form that supersedes or supplants industrial capitalism (see. Goldthorpe (1982). and rightly. to be sure.-3- Regardless. Gouldner (1979). hierarchy. 1987).1 In Bell’s (1976) pioneering work.

1984. self-servicing will hardly promote domestic manufacturing employment in the post-industrial economies. whose privileged social position is a function of their control of scientific knowledge and the means of information. Bell envisages a society in which the significance of deep class cleavages will erode. But then. 1967). And. 1988. three outcomes are possible: as a first. but with a new twist: rising incomes will shift demand towards services. the accent is on the ongoing transformation within manufacturing and its effects on skill upgrading. Boyer. And. 1983) argues that rising incomes will not produce a shift in household consumption towards services. 1984). enhanced worker autonomy and authority. the cost-disease may simply result in mass unemployment. it will not produce service jobs. His is an application of Engel’s Law. Here. But. A rather parallel vision is presented in the more rosy literature on “post-fordism” and flexibility. but principally engender “self-servicing” via purchased household commodities. Self-servicing creates demand for household goods that are predominantly material in nature. not far removed from the vision presented in Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano. Taiwan or Korea. and enhanced manufacturing productivity will reduce industrymanpower needs. Kern & Schumann. There are essentially two pessimistic versions. a second possibility is that service jobs can be promoted via . service labor will outprice itself. and on the decline of traditional fordist managerial hierarchies (Piore and Sabel. This kind of jobless growth is one logical outcome of the Baumol theory of unbalanced growth (Baumol. Since meritocracy will emerge as the key criterion for assignment and privilege. the end-result is a cost-disease problem: when wage costs in services follow those in manufacturing. In the Baumol model. Gershuny (1978. since service sector productivity grows much slower than in manufacturing. are mainly produced in Japan. however. Thus emerges the paradox that the service society will mainly consume physical goods. One predicts that modern automation and technology will result in a workless society.-4- the rise of professional-technical cadres. as a consequence. since household capital goods. his analyses suffer from the lack of attention to the possible rise of a new underclass. from video recorders to microwave ovens.

may become assets over which the new distributional struggles will center (van Parijs. Max Adler. long-term unemployed.2 The de-industrialization literature presents a second kind of pessimistic scenario. A rather similar model is found in the pessimistic variant of the flexibility literature. Jobs.-5- government “subsidized” wages.” The idea itself is hardly new. identified how long-term mass unemployment provoked a chronic bifurcation of the proletariat with a large section simply unable to enter its ranks. writing in the 1930’s. Hence. The result was the division of the left parties into the party of the employed. early retirees. the middle declines and the labor market polarizes between the top and the new swelling bottom. The class structural outcome will differ sharply depending on which scenario is dominant. 2 . The jobless post-industrial scenario can be expected to engender a new kind of insideroutsider cleavage: a closed labor market of insiders enjoying high wages and job security (efficiency wages). The implication is that post-industrialization with wage flexibility (read low wages) generates a new underclass of marginals and stand-by workers in the labor market. Levy (1988). and the party of the unemployed (Adler. primarily in the form of welfare state jobs. Piore & Sabel suggest the possibility of a “Napoli model” of flexibilization where firms combine their highly qualified internal labor force with a periphery pool of labor reserves. themselves. trapped into a vicious cycle of underprivilege. at the bottom. Drawing on dual labor market theory. 1933). and discouraged workers. what Michon (1981) and Goldthorpe (1990) call “disponibles. Instead of predicting the growth of an outsider population. The possibility that such an outsider-underclass is evolving has been raised by Auletta (1982). and it should be obvious that each single one is institutionally dependent. 1987). a new underclass (heavily weighted by women and minorities). and a swelling army of outsiders including youth. Giddens (1973) also sees the possibility of such polarization with. The third possibility is that service employment will expand because of low wages that correspond to productivity differentials. the argument here is that industrial decline leads to a powerful downward pressure on wages coupled to mass proletarianization. and Runciman (1990).

one of the revolutionizing characteristics of the post-industrial order is its potential for exploding the traditional class-gender nexus. . or the naked market nexus of industrial capitalism. The Construction of a Post-Industrial Class Scheme Comparatively speaking. attempt to theoretically integrate the role of women. like Renner’s service class. A lion’s share of post-industrial jobs are freed of any natural malebias. Marxist theory has been a stubborn witness to the transformations of advanced capitalism. 1991).-6- THE PROBLEM OF “CLASSES” Our dominant class theories. like Ehrenreich & Ehrenreich (1979). Therefore. it is very possible that the emerging post-industrial labor market will be synonymous with a female labor market (Clement and Myles. is largely defined as an adjunct to the male. seen from both the demand and supply side. authority. in response to the theory of managerial control in the modern corporation. The constraints on women’s capacity to throw themselves into full-fledged career trajectories are sharply reduced. we shall firstly address the principles of a post-industrial class conceptualization and. as we shall argue. Along these axes we are presented with a distribution of the male workforce. the 3 By far the most rigorous and systematic empirical treatment on the ownership-control issue is found in Zeitlin (1989). attempted to rescue Marxism by asserting that the new managerial and professional classes. identify classes with reference to the axis of ownership. whether employed or not. not that it was false. inherent in the passage towards the service-society lies the prospect of a fundamental break with the conventional female life/career cycle.3 Others. secondly. marxists could show that the tendency was less dramatic than argued. the class-membership of women. Yet. be they marxist or weberian. In this section. many may actually harbor a female-bias and. Thus. were little else than an additional (unproductive) layer in the reproductive logic of capitalist class relations.

for that matter. not only because a large share of the labor force is in state employment (without being necessarily equivalent to the traditional hierarchical structure). Gouldner’s or Bell’s knowledge class. Yet. insofar as 2) this component is represented exclusively by economic interests. also the Weberian reformulations remain unsatisfactory from the point of view of post-industrial society. but Wright’s new class map is only marginally at variance with that of Goldthorpe (1987) or Runciman (1990). This certainly does not form part of Goldthorpe’s definition. it is easy to recognize that the burgeoning professional. that the precise (English) text in Weber is somewhat more restrictive since it emphasizes 1) that people must have in common a specific causal component of their life-chances. his “expert class” is virtually synonymous with Goldthorpe’s service class or. 1989). than does Goldthorpe’s. 5 4 . Their Note that the Ehrenreichs’ thesis comes much closer to the original meaning of the service class intended by Renner. Those inspired by the Weberian tradition have been more inclined towards theoretical revision. page 927). 1978) emphasized that the service class was unproductive. organizational. Still. Volume Two. the solution to classify the huge number of positions that fall outside the strict class-domination axis as semi-autonomous or contradictory locations aborted. as orthodox marxists still insist on doing (Sobel. monopolistic class character of many professions.5 In this framework. in fact.-7- key-axis still being workers and capitalists. is class situation (M. The addendum regarding markets may. converges with the Weberian scheme. however. Indeed. managerial and executive elites constitute new strata with rather unique life-chances that arise out of a common market condition. Karl Renner (1953. This is to be expected given the much greater flexibility inherent in its standard definition of class: “classes exist to the extent that groups share a common market condition as the decisive basis for their specific life-chances” (Mayer & Carroll. and 3) is represented under the conditions of the commodity or labor markets. Weber. but functionally necessary to uphold capitalist society. It is symptomatic that Wright's (1985. to Weber. Economy and Society. 1989) revised class schema. now built around the control and exploitation of assets (ownership. 1987: 16). Note. turn out to be decisive for our understanding of post-industrial classes. A much more ambitious and coherent theoretical salvage was attempted in Erik Wright’s (1978.4 Similarly. it hardly adds much to our understanding of the huge white collar stratum to force it into the manual proletarian class. 1979) early work. This. but also because of the often closed. The labels may differ. and skills).

on the assumption that intellectuals and the intelligentsia are natural allies (Gouldner. most recent stratification theory has focused only on the above-mentioned “new class.20).cit p. the role of the state as an employer is unimportant in the Goldthorpe framework. as it is also for Wright’s new class map. He argues explicitly that the difference between managers and professionals is only one of situs position. on the other hand. what we might call life-chance or career regimes. administrators and professionals together form a distinct.cit. 170). if you like. op. in our view. p.-8- Their principal shortcoming is a failure to recognize that the “post-fordist” division of labor may give birth to new axes of stratification. strata. 1979:19). are likely to apply differently: the first is essentially a horizontal one: how is a given kind of job inserted in the overall division of labor? The second is dynamic and tries to capture the likelihood of class closure. and that they are able to appropriate privately larger shares of income produced by the cultures they possess (Gouldner. Furthermore. elite class. in turn. 6 . The New Division of Labor Most contemporary research follows Gouldner and Goldthorpe and assumes that higher grade managers. We employ two kinds of criteria that. Goldthorpe.” In Goldthorpe’s larger class scheme. We propose in the following a tentative “class scheme” whose principal aim is to distinguish post-industrial from the traditional fordist classes or. class II brings together both semi-professionals/technicians Wright’s argument is that state employment hardly alters class relationships since state activities are subordinate to the essence of capitalist society (Wright. 1989:345). sees the class commonality of his service class in the delegation of trust which. Gouldner defends this on the basis of their shared capacity to control knowledge.6 If we except the Goldthorpe scheme (and its various applications) and the new Wright scheme. 1982). results in distinctive conditions of employment in terms of type and level of rewards (Goldthorpe. not class (op.

and the trust relationship are clearly important attributes that unite the “new class. but this will most likely entail a basic change in their working life. the antithesis to hierarchy and a fordist system of regulation. The autonomy of the professional is of a qualitatively different kind than that of the manager. if scientific expertise is emerging as a new and dominant source of power.” But. Autonomy. as such. all service workers are classified together with the “manual proletariat” which. Also. Many professionals. rewards. and not from bureaucratic office. The nature of their human capital and expertise directs them into very divergent kinds of productive (or unproductive) activity. In sum. if not class. and as management training becomes scientized and professionalized. social identities.-9and lower level managers. the professional will usually stand outside the lines of command. professionals’ approach to work is task-oriented and their authority. Goldthorpe’s class III encompasses clerical and rank-and-file service workers. Outside the state. and collective identity are more likely to derive from the scientific standards of their chosen discipline. The professional is. human capital assets. becomes so huge (about 50 percent of the total labor force) that its analytical value is diminished. such as engineers. To Wright. professionals often included. indeed.7 In contrast. move. hence. and functional tasks. managers reflect a fordist logic of the division of labor. possess a great deal of autonomy but probably little authority over subordinates. may very well end up as corporate managers. legitimacy. and what they control is not the same. loyalties. accordingly. from our point of view there are other attributes which differentiate the scientists-professionals from the managers-administrators. it should be regarded as a career. and status We may very well wish to qualify this point as post-fordist management principles find their way into the modern corporation. The manager and administrator is a hierarchical creature in the bureaucratic division of control and. assumes authority over others. Wright’s semi-credentialed group is more or less identical. 7 .

the Wright-approach ends up defining the proletariat as a residual. See. semi-professionals and technicians should be differentiated from lower level management and administration. The former stand in a subordinate relation to the scientists and professionals. on the basis of the assets-criterion. Wright and Martin (1987: 9). on the other side.-10- identification that stands in contrast to traditional ones. a parallel “fordist” divide may also apply to the lower level wage workers. in particular.9 For example. in fact. It can be questioned whether. Similarly. these are criteria requiring empirical verifications. the latter services persons in a setting with blurred hierarchies. whereas most class schemes distinguish the broad working classes mainly by skill (credentials in Wright). it seems erroneous to merge skilled and unskilled service workers into these two strata. The former are embedded in the industrial-fordist division of labor and hierarchy. especially emphasized by Goldthorpe. and only a vague link There are two criteria often used to argue for a common classification of managers and professionals. a skilled metal worker and a skilled hairdresser would have very little in common be it in terms of autonomy. The division is conceptually clear between manual skilled and crafts workers on one side. Finally. authority. a criterion that seems weak in light of the new conservatism and “Yuppie” wave of the 1980’s. Surprisingly. the latter similarly to managers. there is a clear division between business-related occupations and the scientific professions. labor relations and reward system. professionals and managers are embedded in similar reward structures. usually a fair degree of autonomy and discretion. while the latter are mainly employed in inter-personal settings where the labor process is synonymous to a consumption process. and the unskilled manuals. the latter execute the more routine managerial prescriptions. however. the former operates machines in subordination to a managerial hierarchy with a relatively clear productivity-reward nexus. But. an unskilled factory worker and a fastfood counter worker occupy two distinct worlds of work. 9 8 . and should not be assumed a priori. One is Gouldner’s stress on ideological similarity. Parkin (1968) makes a distinction similar to ours on ideological grounds.8 A set of parallel principles can be applied also to the less exalted occupational groups. the former execute the more routine professional tasks. the managers and professionals may be divided by more than “situs” differences. is that they share similar privileges in die economic reward structure. The other. Thus. In the end. To Parkin.

the question is whether job-mobility and life-chances over the life course are likely to be systematically patterned by class membership. in the case of the unskilled service workers. the concept of class would seem more relevant. as emphasized by Mayer & Carroll (1987). the marked differences in autonomy and authority between manual and service proletarians are evident from the data provided by Ahrne and Wright (1983: 229). To assess the degree of closure. p 25).10 Career and Life Chance Regimes Any kind of class-scheme must assume some degree of social closure. the concept of situs would seem appropriate. they are best understood as stop-gap jobs. 1986. For example. Thus. and if their life chances are similar. Even more dramatically.-11between productivity and rewards. We may very well be overplaying the difference between unskilled manual and service workers. we can think of two criteria of mobility. Oppenheimer (1990) has shown that a large proportion of the low-end service jobs (essentially In fact. It should be understood mat the fordist . Secondly.postindustrial divide which we impose on the labor market is to be seen in ideal-typical terms. Mayer & Carroll show that the higher level professionals are the least likely to show job changes (op. discrete careertrajectories with variant life chance profiles. Both the Goldthorpe studies and the Mayer & Carroll study suggest that the “post-industrial era” has increased job-mobility (Goldthorpe & Payne. Mayer & Carroll. this is ignored in their analyses. But their data also indicate distinct mobility differences. 10 . Or. as an interim within alternative life-cycle trajectories. if there is a constant reciprocal flow between managers and professionals. Firstly. the concept of a new post-industrial proletariat would be wholly inappropriate if virtually none remains in unskilled service jobs for longer periods. Hence. while taylorist efforts in services (such as we find in MacDonalds) may “fordize” the service worker. a class is hardly a class at all if it lacks membership stability. Surprisingly. the validity of the class categories presented here depends on the regularities of life chances and on patterns of classor occupational mobility. Flexible specialization and job-upgrading in manufacturing may reduce the fordist character of the factory worker. In this case.cit. 1987). but if they follow internally ordered.

If this is true. it would be exceedingly difficult to predict future life chances from incumbency in an unskilled service job. In contrast. See. On the other hand. that post-industrial society harbors a new class structure based on new social divisions. does the post-industrial order give rise to a significantly variant set of mobility and life chance regimes? It is possible that the emerging new job structure turns out to be a replication or perpetuation of our traditional system of stratification. post-industrial society is likely to nurture a novel kind of life-chance structuration in both the service and the industrial occupations. job and income-stability. for example.11 As a point of departure. there is very little to indicate that the unskilled manual working class jobs are “stop-gap. The industrial worker and. a package of fringe benefits and welfare state guarantees that allowed. To begin with. industrial capitalism produced class closure because the large mass of manual workers shared collectively a very similar life cycle. The question is. he or she would face a future of good earnings.-12- our unskilled services) constitute youthful stop-gap jobs in a life-cycle career pattern. Hence. there is much to Probably the dominant outward mobility channel for unskilled manual workers has been early retirement. for that matter. the routine clerical worker. One of its hallmarks was an extremely high degree of career and life chance predictability.” On the contrary. would know that significant upward or outward career mobility was unlikely over the life course. The essence of the “fordist” manufacturing workers is their highly predictable flat and stable career-profile. 11 . let us briefly re-examine the parameters of the fordist class structure. the utility of making a sharp class-distinction between manual and service workers lies in the contrasting “career-trajectories”. It is also possible that new mechanisms of closure are evolving. in totem. the fordist occupational structure tended to be heavily male. a satisfactory degree of participation in the prevailing standards of living and consumption of society. The life chances of a manual worker were such that a single earner sufficed to reproduce the household. Aaron & Burtless (1984) or Esping-Andersen (1990). In our view. a fact of vital importance for understanding why the post-industrial structure tends to be distinctly feminine.

and the worker’s prospects of sustained high earnings and welfare over the life cycle. 13 12 . well-paid class of service workers in the private sector. a closed professional elite stratum and. mamma-andpappa type enterprises. But since customers seek personal services precisely because they are personal and cater to individual demands and tastes. organizational mobility is less likely to occur. Baumol’s productivity problem seriously inhibits the emergence of a stably employed. This is what both the “flexibility” and the “declining middle” literature suggests. is there emerging a new class dualism with. the potential for massive fordization should be modest indeed. MacDonald management.12 In sum. Thirdly.13 It remains to be seen whether postindustrial society will promote its own class-closure. services. Their jobs may be highly taylorized. in a factory. both in the sense of methods of production and labor force composition. It is also possible that services are undergoing a process of “fordization. at the bottom. a new post-industrial proletariat. As discussed earlier. say. This implies that internal. equally important. on social skills. MacDonalds and Burger King outlets represent probably the most advanced type of taylorism and massstandardization in the consumer services. these kinds of social skills are very likely to be determinant. are quite irrelevant: an engaging smile. and they are much more likely to be organized in small. we posit a divergence in the occupational life-cycle behavior of traditional fordist jobs and post-industrial service jobs. career prospects and life chances in the post-industrial order are certain to be much more dependent on education.-13- indicate that the fordist system of life chances is in decay within the traditional industrial order. at the top. It is certainly possible that the traditional industrial economy is undergoing post-industrialization. as occurred in the fordist industrial system. whose chances for mobility are closed? Reconsider the MacDonald fastfood counter workers.” although it is hard to imagine that this could occur on a grand scale. courtesy. a new servant class. there are many aspects of the service economy which point against the emergence of a stable life chance and mobility regime at the low end of the occupational structure. human capital resources and. youthful enthusiasm. the division of labor. Secondly. but they nonetheless have to possess social skills that. deindustrialization and restructuration is altering the occupational mix. are much less likely to be unionized. furthermore. For career-promotion into.

we would know nothing about closure. and encouraged to. however. as is Wright’s approach. Class formation can only be ascertained through dynamic analysis of mobility patterns across the life-cycle. By the combination of an adequate “fordist” wage. the case for their separate identity is considerably weakened. but also because of inbuilt institutional constraints.-14- We cannot assess the degree of class closure on a cross-sectional static basis. Class Relations and Gender The fordist industrial order was built around a very particular sexual division of labor. and the female’s full-time dedication to household reproduction. Firstly. It is evident from this example. Female labor supply was discouraged not only because of the nature of jobs that high industrialism offered. families were both able to. If. the recruitment and mobility patterns diverge. Thus. as the realm of social services expands. Our unskilled service class can. trade union victories. we might consider the low-end service jobs as a functional alternative to early retirement or unemployment. In this case. The bi-lateral directionality must be stressed since there is a very real possibility that unskilled service jobs serve as a “dumping-ground” for redundant manufacturing workers. that we must establish the real class significance of our classes from employment-mobility flows. split their productive efforts between the male’s full-time industrial wage employment. especially if we find high rates of mobility and fluidity going both ways between the two. ranging from the absence of collective social services to discriminatory tax treatment of two-earner households. the necessity of . The revolutionary essence of the emerging post-industrial society lies very much in its abolition of this gender-logic. their separate identity seems warranted. and welfare state transfers. even if we could identify strong correlations between positions and attributes at any given point in time. serve as an example: if it is the case that unskilled manual and service workers constitute one and the same type of people with similar characteristics and life chances. once again.

dryers. we might envisage two class structural logics.although low-paid personal services are likely to show a distinct female bias. The consequences for our understanding of post-industrial stratification are. it not only frees women from the family. In the extreme case. If it is committed to social services. each being gender specific. it also grants women the opportunity to pursue uninterrupted work-careers. etc.14 Women’s full-time participation and careers depend on the provision of collective social services. that the post-industrial jobslots are likely to become female-slots. and a female-biased post-industrial hierarchy. but generates also a vast female labor market. 1983. If the welfare state adopts non-discriminatory tax reforms and gives generous provisions for paid absenteeism and sabbaticals. but the likely consequence is also an extraordinary concentration of the female labor force within the public sector. The third possibility of We should not forget the ways in which the fordist system. As a result. there is the possibility of a gender-divided stratification order with a male-dominated fordist hierarchy. we can expect a greater capacity for women to participate and pursue full-time careers. itself. and we would be less inclined to expect a strong sectoral concentration of women -. such as dishwashers. 1988). the capacity of women to enter the labor market may still be substantial (due to the low market price of. thus freeing women from traditional family care obligations. the amount of necessary household working time has been sharply reduced (Gershuny. 14 . but they are also frequently “natural” female career-avenues in the sense that they offer paid employment in what are essentially traditional social reproduction tasks. low wages are the main source of service job growth. has helped propel the gender-revolution. The abolition of the traditional fordist division of labor depends very much on the degree to which the welfare state is service-intensive. Service jobs are not only more flexible and less physically demanding. firstly. If. affordable. Services for women create jobs for women. The gender-profile of post-industrial societies is particularly sensitive to Baumol’s costdisease problem. on the other hand. daycare). microwave ovens. Where the welfare state constitutes the main source of service growth. secondly. that female and male life-cycle profiles will begin to converge. say.-15household self-reproduction declines. Mass production and mass consumption has made household production goods. As a result.

in part. the welfare state introduces the possibility of a welfare state client class. its contours and guiding principles remain little more than vaguely distinguishable. 1988). it is also likely that accustomed relations between authority. rewards. Picot and Wannell. instead. real. on such new phenomena as sector (public versus private sector).-16- job-less growth would predictably result in low female participation and. in the continuation of the fordist sexual division of labor. perhaps most important of all. indeed. in the Weberian tradition. consciousness. the social wage violates the assumption that classes and life chances can be identified via “common market conditions. In part. In the latter case. it is an empirically open question whether these standard criteria are of equal relevance in the post-industrial order. the economic returns to credentials are less and less linear and depend. Firstly. and if we are witnessing the emergence of new bases of class formation (be it knowledge. we could speak of very incomplete post-industrialization. In marxism. And. status and rewards will erode. A POST-INDUSTRIAL STRATIFICATION SCHEME Since the new post-industrial order is still unfolding. We are therefore in no position to elaborate more than a general heuristic device for classifying “classes. If the stratification system is in flux. or alternative resources). the sometimes massive expansion . concomitantly. union decline and labor market flexibilization. and life-chances. social skills. Harrison & Bluestone’s (1988) declining-middle thesis suggests that the traditionally stable relationship between job and pay in the American economy has eroded in tandem with de-industrialization. A similar kind of un-coupling appears to be the case for Canada (Myles. In some European countries. and collective action. the welfare state has revolutionized labor market behavior. For several reasons. they usually include authority.” Virtually all class theories base their classificatory system on a composite of class-attributes. our treatment must ignore such attributes.” as already hinted at. these relate principally to ownership. And. There are several empirical indications that this kind of flux is. status.

The state was traditionally analyzed as a system of domination. and the organization of the labor market. through the expansion of collective social services and transfers. but also the emergence of a huge production.and reward system isolated from the operation of market forces. the economy. in their recast interdependency. essentially divorced from the market. and the household that reflected the fordist. Social reproduction can no longer be characterized in terms of solely the relation between families and work. The traditional walls between the welfare state and the labor market have crumbled to the extent that the welfare state provides some of the principal mechanisms by which markets . legitimation or cohesion in the reproduction of capitalist social relations. and from the private household. it was viewed as an alien body. they have to do with government fiscal capacity and the politics of collective choice. especially.-17- in welfare state employment implies not only new occupational groups. industrial capitalist order. This results in the revolutionary changes we have highlighted regarding women and the economy: the requirements for family self-servicing in terms of social reproduction are dramatically reduced. This view hardly corresponds to present-day reality since it is clear that the modern welfare state directly and powerfully determines the welfare and behaviour of the family. The conditions that govern the employment prospects in the public sector are only remotely related to productivity and profitability. invalid to assume the existence of autonomous labor market clearing mechanisms. the commodity status of labor. The classical theories of class were conceived in terms of an understanding of the state. Typically. social control. from industrial hierarchy. similarly. It is. what were once the responsibilities of the household are now provided for by the welfare state. The classification scheme we shall propose below derives from a set of arguments concerning the distinctive features emerging in these three core institutions and. instead. and the possibilities for female/mother employment are vastly increased.

In sum. and subsequent job-mobility is dictated by education and training programs. the vision of a purely meritocratically based social selection system is what makes this theory appear so optimistic. Reciprocally. indeed. depend much more on credentials. In Scandinavia. . It is undoubtedly true that a vastly increasing proportion of positions will be defined by educational credentials. Women with small children are capable of paid employment only if they have access to child-care facilities and enjoy rights to paid absenteeism. The centrality of education has two major implications. Thus. or via its tax.” it helps decide who fills them and how they are to be rewarded. as to an extent was always the case. Most post-industrial theory argues for the increased importance of education in dictating class outcomes.-18- “clear. In a parallel manner.”15 Entry into employment. welfare state institutions dictate the choice of non-entry. the employer of up to a third of the entire labor force. upward mobility in the post-industrial job hierarchy will. the latter actually accounts for almost the entire net employment increase over the past decades. The severity of this filtering will obviously depend on the nature of the educational system. compared to the fordist. If access 15 For a detailed treatment of this point. the structure of the welfare state is a key feature in the contemporary process of social stratification: it creates and it abolishes “empty slots. the welfare state furnishes the basic means for labor market exit. either via the provision of a social wage option. education may therefore promote a new class-divide. in its won right. Any theory of labor market clearing must take into account the fact that the welfare state is. Firstly. the real revolution lies in the introduction of early retirement. and. the irony of meritocratic assignment is that it introduces a new class-filter. but increasingly so also by active labor market measures and direct welfare state employment growth. see Esping-Andersen (1990: Chapters 6 and 7). the armies of redundant industrial workers may have the option of a social wage rather than being forced to move into bottom-end jobs. While unemployment insurance has always served this function in a limited way.or service treatment of households. it defines what is to be undertaken within them. Those with few or outdated qualifications will be blocked from competition and upward mobility. finally. it shapes the patterns of mobility between them.

as technology makes the unskilled worker increasingly redundant. is giving way to various forms of flexibilization and de-routinization. 1989). an active. two. is much more likely to result in class-closure and low occupational or sectoral mobility (Carroll & Mayer. One. There is also ample evidence that the traditional industrial hierarchy is undergoing explosive change as taylorist managerialism declines. Secondly. 1987. Allmendinger. they are likely to strengthen the divergence of class structural trends.-19- to credentials is very broad. In addition to formal qualifications. inter-generational closure within the post-industrial elite jobs. continuous training system. and as flexible work processes demand multi-skilled and more autonomous workers. In contrast. More important. As previous research has shown. be it through in-house selfservicing or through imports from the business-services sector. a rigid education system is likely to result in class closure. post-industrial society is very likely to put a premium on social skills. and the technician may be eroding. the boundaries between the worker. like the German. Mayer & Carroll. This is clear in terms of output. as we know from management sensitivity training centers. The manufacturing system is increasingly built around nonmaterial inputs and specialized technical and professional services. These can be purchased. should permit a greater degree of career mobility and change. Industrial production is no longer the dominant element of the economy. and will therefore reinforce two kinds of closures.and employment-shares. the polarizing effect of meritocracy can be lessened. is the process of post-fordist industrial transformation in which the logic of standardized mass production and mass consumption. based on the mass worker. a rigidly credentialist system. They must also be recast because many of the core principles that underpinned industrial capitalism no longer obtain. 1986. In contrast. the ghettoization of women in social service occupations and. Our assumptions about the economy must obviously take into account the insertion of welfare state institutions. since education systems differ substantially among countries. like the Swedish. . perhaps. the manager. and if a system of continued training and retraining exists. But they are more probably socially inherited.

The access to service options in the welfare state (or market).-20- The entire fordist economy was built around a concept of productivity which is rapidly losing its validity. The postwar fordist model. Indeed. With the option of outside social servicing. Since the welfare state increasingly absorbs what are essentially menial household job functions. Today. 1983. however. assumed the male as breadwinner. much of which may very well take place in the informal economy. the vast majority of the labor force is. This obviously affects social stratification since rewards were traditionally pegged to measurable (material) productivity. The shape of our stratification system will depend on the degree to which there evolve “economies” to service manufacturing. first and foremost. usually explicitly. but beyond this . It is likely that the new social servicing jobs will be overwhelmingly filled by the new female labor force. or family social reproduction. limited to adult males. catering to such tasks as care of children and the elderly. As Block (1990) suggests. and the postwar welfare state did not --until recently --define its responsibilities as encompassing family social reproduction functions. personal leisure. around which also the welfare state was built. has permitted a drastic reduction of working-time within the most time-consuming fields of household self-reproduction (Gershuny. the nature of the household has been revolutionized. engaged in activities that lack an adequate determination of productivity. the female as responsible for social reproduction and the family as the setting for leisure and material mass-consumption. given rise to a wholly new employment sector. It is perhaps in our understanding of the household that our assumptions require most revision. and the access to household technologies. the marginal stratification effect is an increase in unskilled social service jobs within the welfare state labor market. perhaps the lion’s share of economic activity produces leisure or social reproduction for others. The stratification system is deeply affected as a result. This has. there is a certain neo-physiocratism in our contemporary understanding of the economy since we are really only able to grasp productivity in terms of material outputs. the postwar promise of full employment was. typically but not necessarily within the welfare state. It hardly makes sense to regard this as solely a “tax” on the diminishing productive sector. Intertwined with the transformation in welfare states and economy. 1988). women are in the position to pursue sustained employment and career development.

and lower-class household living standards. Where they are affordable to a critical mass of households. the household’s greater capacity for leisure may not translate automatically into consumption within the personal services. In turn.-21- effect gender is likely to emerge as a new leading variable in the division of labor. this employment sector (which is by nature extremely biased towards low-skilled jobs) will be very sensitive to the Baumol cost-disease problem (except where it produces “positional goods” that are desired because of their limited availability). As Gershuny (1983) emphasizes. and the introduction of household technologies permits more free time. single person households are likely to suffer relatively in the income distribution. This is given by smaller family size. as the two-earner household unit becomes the norm. In order to identify the outlines of a new stratificational order. The class-biased character of marriage will mean a greater income differentiation between upper. on occupational change. by labor-saving household goods. In addition. however. microwave ovens and stereos). we need to combine the two. Since such leisure activities as cinema. the household faces a price-based choice that will deeply affect the employment prospects within the leisure services. Smaller families and female work enhance disposable income. and by female employment. restaurants or concerts have their self-servicing option (videos. This we shall undertake in the form of occupation-industry matrices. Hence. . this will influence the shape of our stratification system: mass-consumption of leisure and fun fuels a large unskilled service proletariat. Most existing research has focused on either sectoral employment shifts (the rise of jobs in services) or. it will affect the overall distribution of welfare. The marginal price-effect of leisure services will depend on the overall income distribution and the wage structure. less commonly. Of final importance in the recast household structure is its greater demand for leisure consumption. the rate of leisure consumption will be high.

They encompass mining and manufacturing. and exclude postal services and government from social services. the last stage in the processing of goods. in terms of volume its essence lies closer to distribution (Browning & Singelmann. and transportation). communication). 1935.cit). financial services and the like). For an overview of the Browning & Singelmann scheme. Their growth is associated with a decline in “fordist” self-servicing and firms’ increased preference for outside service purchasing. distribution (wholesale.-22- The Classification of Industries It is possible to divide the economy into two broad logics. non-physical inputs into industrial production and distribution (management consultancy. Firstly.” we find the “post-industrial” services whose vitality derive from the fundamental changes in societal reproduction discussed above. business services (or. if you like. and vice-versa. op. Transportation is more ambiguous because it encompasses both goods and people. software programming and systems design. 1968). each identified by its unique role in reproduction. But we insist that they should be regarded as functionally integrated activities in the fordist industrial system. The main differences are that we exclude communications from producer services. In the literature. 17 . legal and accounting services. retail. and economic infrastructure (utilities. with some minor modifications. producer services) comprise activities that mainly provide intermediate. We shall distinguish three service sectors. One can speak of an internal organic interdependency between these sectors in the sense that the logic of mass industrial production necessitates mass distribution linkages. architectural services. The industrial classification system proposed here follows. Fisher. Fuchs. 1940. following the early service-economy theorists (Clark.16 In one we find the traditional activities associated with the fordist system of standardized mass production and mass consumption. as Browning & Singelmann (1978: 488) point out. the influential contribution of Singelmann (1974) and Browning & Singelmann (1978). Yet. a trend that is fueled by needs for greater flexibility and the 16 Our study will disregard the primary sector entirely.17 In the other “economy. Distributive services are. retail sales and transportation are typically classified as services. see Browning & Singelmann (1978: 487).

and also the changing demographic composition in modern societies. an alternative to self-servicing. of course. a decline in “social” selfservicing. the shrinking size of households and the phenomenal rise in one-person units. we group those that are representative of the “post-industrial” division of labor.-23- growing demand for non-physical. often tailor-made. consumer services are. i. education and welfare services) reflect household export of the tasks associated with social reproduction. in the second. For each set. Secondly. we distinguish between a fordist industrial hierarchy and a . On the other hand. Parallel to our industrial classification. as Block (1990) puts it: the participation of women in the economy. The social services are increasingly demanded in conjuncture with the emerging “post-industrial” life cycle. in this case associated with changing modes of leisure reproduction. On one hand. that is. why they lent themselves so well to the construction of status-hierarchies in sociological mobility research. the growth of social services (health. professionalized-scientific inputs into the production process. In one set. we group those that represent the traditional industrial division of labor. This is. This must be understood in terms of a fundamental transformation of the ways social reproduction takes place.. they are connected to the extension of leisure time and the income-capacity to purchase services. similarly. The Classification of Occupations Detailed occupational titles provide us with a reasonable description of the qualifications. the equalization of career profiles. Social services release time for paid employment and for leisure.e. the reallocation of household time-use. households are more likely to eat out or send their laundry out (or to self-service via household capital inputs). these changes are connected to the work-social reproduction nexus: when also women work. responsibilities and work-tasks of a person. Thirdly. we can then classify occupations according to their place within the hierarchy that is symptomatic of the kind of division of labor that obtains. we distinguish a set of occupational classes.

The Fordist Hierarchy: managers and proprietors (includes executive personnel and the “petit bourgeoisie”). responsibility. baggage porters. etc) and also military. etc). technical designers etc). .professionals and scientists. haulers. distribution and administration. once again. such as packers. social workers. The concept of hierarchy used here should be understood as broadly reflecting the degree of authority. in many cases.skilled service workers (cooks. The Post-industrial Hierarchy: . as does Goldthorpe. entirely omit the primary sector occupations (farmers. or service proletariat (cleaners. .18 .unskilled and semi-skilled manual production workers. it corresponds to a proletarian situation in the Wright-sense in which there is a complete lack of any asset (skills.19 It would be more appropriate to divide this group into higher level managers with larger proprietors. and lower level managers with small proprietors. and level of human capital applied. including low level “technical” workers. The operational definition of the unskilled service proletariat follows the criterion that its a job that anyone of us could do with no prior qualifications. policemen. nurses. the managerial group is not well differentiated. On the basis of even detailed census data (3-4 digit ISCO codes) this is difficult since we are provided with virtually no information on size and. and the like. . etc).-24- post-industrial hierarchy. 19 18 . administrative (non-managerial) and sales workers engaged in basically routine tasks of control. hairdressers. capital or organization) with which to undertake exploitation. Hence. 2. waitresses. bartenders.clerical. Our study will. truck drivers. including also transport workers and other manual occupations engaged in manufacture and distribution. In the analyses that follow we will accordingly have to accept a less than satisfactory managerial classification. . We thus arrive at the following “classes”: 1. .technicians and semi-professionals (school teachers.skilled/crafts manual production workers. laboratory workers.unskilled service workers.

the welfare state may contribute to the creation of an outsider population of early retirees. In some cases. consisting of persons unable to enter into employment. or outsider. Secondly. Our empirical analyses will primarily build on a cross-classification of these sectoral and occupational groups. In many cases. post-industrial occupations will be subject to the authority of managers. We can therefore examine whether the stratification system of the “post-industrial” order deviates significantly from the traditional economy. Thirdly. Such a matrix is useful because it allows us to trace the post-industrial jobmix in both traditional “fordist” and in new “post-industrial” sectors (as well as vice versa. as is the case where tax policies penalize women’s work. public policy or labor market organization may systematically discourage labor supply. or where efficiency (insider) wages in the labor market create involuntary unemployment (Lindbeck & Snower. is both theoretically and empirically a potentially important “class” in post-industrial societies. The “outsider” surplus population. But it is also likely to be a main alternative to employment in the unskilled service jobs.-25- It will be noticed that the hierarchy of both groups combines a command/authority structure (managers command. just as may also the unskilled service jobs. the Baumol cost-disease effect (and self-servicing) may block job-expansion in the service sector. and workers execute) and a human capital structure. maitres towards waiters). or others subsisting on the social wage. in fact. a main reason for the distinction between a fordist and post-industrial stratification hierarchy). 1984). and the relationship between professionals and semi-professionals or service workers is not likely to be one of commands. we can speak of a “post-industrial” command structure (surgeons towards nurses. . long-term unemployed. The hierarchical position of the surplus. of course. Firstly. of course). The command structure is obviously less clear-cut within the post-industrial hierarchy (this is. population is difficult to identify precisely because of its outsider-status. We have already suggested that it may play the role of a dumping ground for the surplus labor force. clerical workers administer the command. as much as one of delegating or sub-dividing tasks.

In this paper we emphasized the importance of institutional forces in reshaping our employment structure: the role of the welfare state. constitute a real class was premised on our knowledge that class closure was very high (once a worker. The idea that manual workers. a comparative study like ours promises to uncover both convergent and divergent cross-national post-industrial stratification trajectories. consumption and paid employment. and it is exactly for this reason that we temporarily shelve contemporary class theory. Our understanding of the industrial capitalist stratification system became increasingly based on accepted wisdom. To apply the same accepted wisdom to the new post-industrial labor market would almost certainly result in misspecification. This is obviously why the industrial working class has occupied such a privileged analytical position. for example. all advanced capitalist nations are facing vast institutional transformation. education and industrial relations systems. Whether or not the classificatory scheme proposed here is valid can be established only by empirical scrutiny. cross-national institutional differences are great. While we suspect that the parameters of class derived from the traditional industrial order may have little validity for the understanding of class today. The effort must be regarded as exploratory in light of the fact that the emerging principles of class formation are still to be empirically established. The traditional theoretical focus on the working class was motivated by the need to establish whether industrial capitalism was heading towards mass . on the visibility of the hierarchy of authority and command within which the manual worker was employed. always a worker). On the other side. cleavages and polarization. on the predictability of the reward structure. On one side. and on the well-established if not totally routinized nature of the labor process that faced the standard manufacturing worker. The basic question that has always guided stratification research has to do with inequality. and the recast relationship between self-servicing. Hence. we simultaneously have no firm base upon which to identify new ones.-26- CONCLUSION The aim of this paper was to propose a new conceptual framework for the analysis of the post-industrial stratification process. the transformation of the family.

our approach must be dynamic. In sum. This may tell us something about the distribution of people across various positions. Hypothesis 2.” Through an analysis of the relative position and nature of the unskilled service worker stratum and. If people remain service proletarians throughout their entire working lives is a completely different matter than if the vast majority move on to better positions. we could hardly speak of class formation. centered on individual life. more importantly. of its life chances and mobility behaviour. This is particularly the case with a potentially new service proletariat. but is not well suited if we want to understand class formation. our interpretation of the service proletariat would be entirely different. we hope to uncover the more general principles that guide contemporary class formation. in order to draw any conclusions about the principles that operate in class formation. The conceptual and analytical scheme presented in this paper suggests a number of general hypotheses that will guide the subsequent empirical analyses. As our attention now moves to the postindustrial order. we need to isolate the variables that account for who stays and who moves. It is for this reason that our analytical focus is centered on the “post-industrial proletariat. Much of the existing literature has studied the emerging class system in terms of structural statics. Technological change and the process of industrial “de-fordization” will result in a relative increase of professional and semi-professional positions within the traditional transformative industries and/or within business services. And.and career-trajectories. In the latter case. depending on the nature of the welfare state. the underlying central question has not changed.-27- proletarianization or towards one big happy middle class. . depending essentially on the degree of manufacturing selfservicing. This redundant stratum will. The decline of fordism will lead to stagnation in the relative size of managers. and to a sharp decline among the unskilled manual proletariat. be absorbed either in welfare state programs or in the unskilled service stratum. Hypothesis 1.

Post-industrial societies will. diminish their self-servicing. respectively. a large service proletariat. Hypothesis 4. the service proletariat will grow large with a low-wage based consumer service sector. the degree to which manufacturing and households. The rise of both the professional and semi-professional cadres will depend primarily on the vitality of the business. The Baumol cost-disease problem is averted in this case since these jobs are publicly subsidized. are variables that will strongly influence professionalization trends. Since a lion’s share of family reproductive activities are labor intensive and unskilled. Hypothesis 5. at least if employed within the welfare state. that is under conditions of welfare state resistance to services combined with high labor costs (strong unionism). The surplus population is most likely to grow large in the jobless-growth scenario. but could also occur within informal and hidden economies. the service proletariat will also grow large with the expansion of social services.-28- Hypothesis 3.20 This is most likely to occur where trade unions are weak or entirely absent. Two. their export into the welfare state (or private market) implies a growth of unskilled service workers. Monte Carlo. 20 . The service intensity of the welfare state. Its growth is especially encouraged where the welfare state is transfer-biased in its approach to labor market clearing. The relative size of the outsider surplus population is a function of the combined effect of welfare state policy and the cost-disease problem. may give rise to a large service proletariat that is not necessarily with low pay.and social services. But since they face a naked trade-off between accepting a large outsider population or. exhibit a considerably more positive occupational structure. Thus. Hence. The relative size of the service proletariat (the unskilled service workers) is primarily a function of two factors. alternatively. the unskilled social service proletariat is unlikely to be low-paid. they will To this we should add the huge employment effect of tourism which. compared to their “fordist” forebears. Hypothesis 6. in non-competitive situations. One. that is. This will allow individuals and households a price-competitive option to self-servicing their leisure activities. and its commitment to universal and high-quality collective consumption. Rome or Venice are hardly low-wage economies.

on whether the labor market disadvantages among the service proletariat act cumulatively in a negative manner to suppress upward mobility (Mayer & Carroll. Hypothesis 7. A very rigid system of certification is likely to result in mobility-closure. Where the welfare state is very social service intensive. A third possibility is that unskilled service jobs function as first-entry slots for youth and immigrant workers. the welfare state is neither service intensive. Hypothesis 8. on the other hand. its degree of closure will largely depend on the mobility and career-cycle profiles of women workers. Of principal importance here is the educational system.-29produce two alternative kinds of polarization. The degree of class closure within the service proletariat will depend on its predominant form. 1987: 18). the nature of recruitment and outward mobility is likely to differ. the motivation to move out may be weak. but highly upgraded. Hypothesis 9. insider structure and a large outsider surplus population. the service proletariat is likely to become a “dumping ground” for laid off unskilled (largely male) workers. Access to training and education is likely to be a pre-condition for outward mobility. If. Since pay and benefits are likely to be relatively attractive. largely depending on the nature of the welfare state. that is. nor capable of absorbing mass-redundancies from the declining manufacturing sector. the service proletariat is likely to be predominantly female. Where. Whether the post-industrial class structure polarizes around a service proletariat will depend on the latter’s degree of social closure. In one case. a large service proletariat will constitute the pivotal source of polarization. . on the other hand. Recruitment to the service proletariat is likely to come from two main sources. The capacity to do so may be further impaired by the strong probability that workers in these jobs are on part-time. In the other case. and since it constitutes an essentially sheltered employment sector. the polarization will be between a small. If it consists mainly of unskilled welfare state service jobs. the unskilled service jobs are concentrated in private sector personal consumer services.

It is. is also a question of empirical examination. In the latter case. . quite possible that the attributes and mobility flows between unskilled service and (lowerend) sales or clerical jobs are so similar that these should be considered one “class. On the other hand. it may even be the case that there is heavy mobility from the former into the latter. Our classification scheme suggests a parallel between the traditional unskilled manual worker and the post-industrial unskilled service worker. if there is no reciprocal mobility flow of unskilled service workers into manual jobs. for example.-30- Since their very existence is mainly due to the presence of a low-wage economy. we may identify two types: those who are bridging school and careers. As noted. and mobile transients. and women who are bridging school and marriage-motherhood. However. we cannot regard the two strata as equivalents. there may exist alternative kinds of mobility flows and life-chance trajectories that dissolve the uniqueness of an unskilled service proletariat. these jobs are unlikely to be viewed by their incumbents as more than temporary. It is very possible that this kind of service proletariat will be internally divided between a core of permanent proletarians (perhaps circling between unskilled service jobs and unemployment). Whether or not they remain “stop-gap” or bridging-jobs will depend very much on overall unemployment levels and the educational profile of the occupants.” This. A final note on functional equivalents. however.

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