Radical Sociology

By J. David Colfax; Jack L. Roach | Go to book overview

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C · Getting Organized

The New Left and the
New Working Class ***

BOGDAN DENITCH

THE development of mass university education in the advanced industrial countries 1 represents a shift in the function and character of university educated personnel. From an elite education for sons of notables who were prepared to assume leading roles in society, either as its directions or as free professionals, the shift is to vocational training on one hand and, on the other, a rite of passage designed to provide masses of technicians and white collar workers for an increasingly complex and bureaucratized economy and society. This trend has also reduced most of the old free professionals to paid employees of institutions no longer economically "free" but dependent on salaries and subject to the discipline of impersonal institutions over which they have little or nor control. This is a trend general for the industrialized countries although showing a wide range of development. The process has objectively advanced the furthest in the United States, 2 however, a number of factors combine to make the consciousness of the process clearer in France and some of the East European countries. It is important to distinguish between the effect of mass university education, primarily a phenomenon after World War II and the older discontent of

____________________
*
A shorter version of this paper appeared in Ripsaw, No. 4 (Winter 1970).
**
A major intellectual debt to Lucien Goldmann is gratefully acknowledged. The concept of the New Working Class used here primarily relates to the work of Serge Mallet and, to a lesser extent, that of André Gorz

-341-

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