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All that is solid? Class, identity and the maintenance of a collective orientation amongst redundant steelworkers

By Robert A. Perrett, C. Forde, M. Stuart and R. MacKenzie

Abstract

NoThis article explores the importance of class and collectivism to personal identity, and the role this played during a period of personal and collective crisis created by mass redundancy in the Welsh steel industry. The research findings demonstrate the importance of occupational identity to individual and collective identity formation. The apparent desire to maintain this collective identity acted as a form of resistance to the increased individualization of the post-redundancy experience, but rather than leading to excessive particularism, it served as a mechanism through which class-based thinking and class identity were articulated. It is argued that the continued concern for class identity reflected efforts to avoid submergence in an existence akin to Beck¿s (1992) vision of a class-free `individualized society of employees¿.These findings therefore challenge the notion of the pervasiveness of individualism and the dismissal of class and collective orientations as important influences on identity formation

Topics: Class, Collectivism, Identity, Steel, Redundancy, Occupation
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0038038506067509
OAI identifier: oai:bradscholars.brad.ac.uk:10454/4112
Provided by: Bradford Scholars
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