Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview

creased from 7 per cent to about 8 or 9 per cent, and the share received by the top fifth decreased from 37 per cent to 32 per cent. Changes of approximately the same magnitude were noted for male clerical workers. Although there was no change in the share of the income received by the lowest fifth of the salesmen, the share received by the highest fifth of the men in this group decreased from 47 per cent to 40 per cent. Among male service workers there was also a decrease in the share of income received by the highest fifth.

Only one of the important occupations among women (professional, technical, and kindred workers) showed evidence of a decrease in income concentration. The share of income received by the top fifth for this group decreased from 42 per cent to 34 per cent. Among sales workers and private household workers, there was an increase in income concentration attributable perhaps to the increase in the proportion of part-time workers. There was also an increase in income concentration among operatives and service workers.


3. PRESTIGE OF OCCUPATIONS ·

A. F. Davies

The idea of a scale of occupations arranged in the order of their prestige is one that during the last twenty-five years has occupied the attention of many sociologists and social psychologists. The possible usefulness of such a scale as a research instrument, for example, in the study of social mobility and in the task of defining (and ascribing groups to) social strata, has been repeatedly stressed. But writers on this subject have been less clear on just what such a scale would be like if we had it, and thus on how to go about constructing one.

It may be helpful first to set out some of the doubts which may be entertained as to the very existence of a publicly recognized prestige hierarchy of occupations--the phenomenon which the projected scale is presumed to make explicit.

One class of doubts concerns the public nature of the recognition of occupational prestige. It has been suggested, for example, that the same occupations are likely to be somewhat differently regarded in different regions of the one society. It also seems generally to have been assumed that differences between nations would be large, and that differences even between capitalist countries in much the same "stage of development" would quite outweigh the similarities. But the strongest type of this "different publics" doubt is of course, that which suggests that judgments of the prestige of occupations will vary notably with the social status or social class position of informants. Hans Speier ( "Social Stratification in the Urban Community," American Sociological Review, 1936) makes this prediction with regard to social strata and it is clearly

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