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[Excerpt] Examining the determinants of class for women and the ways men experienced gender will help clarify some of the ambiguous status of the clerical sector, but it will still not answer all of our questions. To understand the place of clerical work in the class structure, we need to examine more than just clerical work itself. A major argument of this book is that understanding the impact of clerical work on overall social stratification requires understanding stratification within the manual working class as well. The status of clerical work would perhaps be much clearer in contrast to that of the working class if that working class were itself a monolithic group. However, as the "new labor history" has demonstrated over the past twenty years, the working class did not act or see itself as a seamless whole. The ways in which divisions within the working class affected workers' perceptions of clerical occupations—and clerical workers' perceptions of manual work—highlight many of the ambiguities of the social status of clerical work.


Suggested Citation
DeVault, I. A. (1990). White collar/blue collar [Electronic version]. Sons and daughters of labor: Class and clerical work in turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh (pp. 1-8). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

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© Cornell University. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.