Blue-Collar World: Studies of the American Worker

Blue-Collar World: Studies of the American Worker

Blue-Collar World: Studies of the American Worker

Blue-Collar World: Studies of the American Worker

Excerpt

This Collection of essays grew out of the conviction of both editors that there was a need for a picture of the members of the working class as people. Is the working class different from other groups? What is its special style of life, if any? What values does it attach to parenthood? How does the young worker experience adolescence? How does he see himself as citizen and community member? What are his moral values and religious convictions, his attitude toward physical well-being, his fears of illness? Does he partake of the middle- class preoccupation with mental health? Does he share the intellectual community's ambivalence about leisure-time pursuits? What terrors does unemployment instill, if any? What does he expect from retirement? Above all, who is he?

The question "Who am I?" is the most profound question posed by man. Scientists, novelists, dramatists, poets, and social observers have all wrestled with this problem.

THE PURPOSES OF THE COLLECTION

We have had four major concerns in preparing this book. The first has been to redress a serious imbalance in academic attention to the situation of the American worker as a person rather than as an instrument of production. The second concern was to encourage a new, integrated approach to the situation of the worker. The third was to stress the worker's contemporary situation and to derive from this some provocative and, we trust, meaningful projections. Finally, our desire has been to encourage researchers to re-examine materials they originally collected for other purposes-materials rich in insight into the situation of the worker. Essentially, what we are asking ourselves is, "Do the techniques developed in the social sciences tell us anything useful about the worker that can be ascribed to him as a member of a group?" This is the primary question to which we address ourselves. Is the classification "working class" meaningful in any other sense besides the fundamental classification of men working for an employer and receiving an income from that employer?

There is no lack of systematic study of the worker in the factory and at . . .

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