Working-Class Suburb: A Study of Auto Workers in Suburbia

Working-Class Suburb: A Study of Auto Workers in Suburbia

Working-Class Suburb: A Study of Auto Workers in Suburbia

Working-Class Suburb: A Study of Auto Workers in Suburbia

Excerpt

During the last weekend of February, 1955, the Ford Division of the Ford Motor Company closed its assembly plant in Richmond, California, and moved, taking virtually all of its employees with it, to a brand new plant some fifty miles away in a town called Milpitas, a semirural. community a few miles north of San Jose. As part of a larger study of some of the social and economic consequences of the move, it was my job to conduct a survey of the Ford workers with a view toward discovering what changes in their lives and those of their families might be attributed to the move. In selecting a sample, I discovered that there were large concentrations of workers living in new tract suburbs which had been built not far from the plant. Driving through these tracts, I was immediately struck by the image of "suburbia," and an interview schedule was designed based upon the general assumption that these erstwhile urban working-class families, most of whom had lived in the drab industrial city of Richmond, would be learning middle-class behavior, beliefs, and aspirations as a result of the suburbanization process. It did not take very many interviews, however, to see that this assumption was mistaken. In spite of their "suburban" context, these families . . .

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