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- (MARXISM) the process whereby intermediate groups and classes (see INTERMEDIATE GROUPS) are reduced, by an inevitable logic of monopolization and capitalization, to the level of wage labourers.
- in more recent sociology, the process in which the work situation of some middle-class workers becomes increasingly comparable to that of the manual working class, with consequent implications for trade union and political attitudes.
important differences remain in working conditions and, for some white-collar workers, job security, sick pay and promotion prospects. Routh (1980), for instance, showed that about 80% of male white-collar workers who started in routine office work were promoted during their working lives. This is not, though, the situation for women, who comprise about 70% of routine office workers and have far fewer opportunities for upward mobility (Crompton and Jones, 1984) (see also CONTRADICTORY CLASS LOCATIONS). The situation is also complicated by the ways in which gender expectations affect market and work situations. See also CLASS, SOCIAL STRATIFICATION, SOCIAL MOBILITY, MULTIDIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION, CLASS POLARIZATION, CLASS IMAGERY.