black-coated worker

black-coated worker

(more especially of male workers) a routine clerical or office worker. The more generally used sociological term for this category of workers is WHITE-COLLAR WORKER.

The term ‘black-coated worker’ was first given sociological currency by LOCKWOOD (1958) in an historical account of a group of such workers and a critique of simple PROLETARIANIZATION arguments. Lockwood distinguished between ‘market’, ‘work’ and 'S tatus’ situations (see MULTIDIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION). Hi stor ically there existed a clear separation in status, salary and conditions between office workers and most sections of the working class. More recently, the MARKET SITUATION of manual and routine non-manual workers to some extent converged. In WORK SITUATIONS and STATUS SITUATIONS, however, there remained pronounced differences. Among other things, manual and non-manual workers were physically separated at work and black-coated workers retained a higher level of prestige than manual workers. This explained differences in CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS, and political attitudes, with black-coated workers being more likely to see themselves as MIDDLE CLASS and to vote for the Conservative Party In a postscript to the study, in a new edition of The Black-coated Worker, Lockwood rejects any suggestion that office workers have experienced either proletarianization or radical DESKILLING. See also SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE CLASS, RELATIVE DEPRIVATION.

References in periodicals archive ?
He is a black-coated worker and earns an average wage of PS8 5s a week.
He maps the growth, decline and recovery of Victorian vegetarianism in Britain from the 1830s (the Vegetarian Society was founded in 1847) to the early twentieth century, charting geographical spread (with enduring rivalries between Manchestet and district and the metropolis, and intriguing intermittent outposts like Padstow in Cornwall), social structure (predominantly middle to lower middle class and black-coated worker), gender composition (predominantly masculine, as befitted contemporary expectations about the private and public sphere, but with a strong leavening of female activists and a separate but nor disconnected female society), and modes of representation (mainly in contemporary periodicals).
But, of course, any reassignment of identity, or reassembly of cultural artefacts, does have a human hand in it, and in the Irish case Dowling states that 'the "black-coated workers" (clerks, shop assistants, civil servants, teachers and clergy) [...] along with the strong farmers [...] were the various social classes out of which a conception of Irish cultural citizenry was forged'.