Cultures of Solidarity: Consciousness, Action, and Contemporary American Workers

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University of California Press, Aug 18, 1989 - Political Science - 320 pages
A commonplace assumption about American workers is that they lack class consciousness. This perception has baffled social scientists, demoralized activists, and generated a significant literature on American exceptionalism. In this provocative book, a young sociologist takes the prevailing assumptions to task and sheds new light upon this very important issue. In three vivid case studies Fantasia explores the complicated, multi-faceted dynamics of American working-class consciousness and collective action.

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Contemporary Expressions of Consciousness and Action
The Measures Taken Some Notes on Methodology

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Page 19 - To an ethnographer, sorting through the machinery of distant ideas, the shapes of knowledge are always ineluctably local, indivisible from their instruments and their encasements.
Page 15 - culture' of a group or class is the peculiar and distinctive 'way of life' of the group or class. the meanings. values and ideas embodied in institutions. in social relations. in systems of beliefs. in mores and customs. in the uses of objects and material life. Culture is the distinctive shapes in which this material and social organisation of life expresses itself. A culture includes the 'maps of meaning' which make things intelligible to its members.
Page 10 - In direct contrast to German philosophy which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven. That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real lifeprocess...
Page 9 - The combination of capital has created for this mass a common situation, common interests. This mass is thus already a class as against capital, but not yet for itself. In the struggle, of which we have noted only a few phases, this mass becomes united, and constitutes itself as a class for itself.
Page 15 - Consciousness of class arises in the same way in different times and places, but never in just the same way.
Page 11 - When communist artisans form associations, teaching and propaganda are their first aims. But their association itself creates a new need — the need for society — and what appeared to be a means has become an end.

About the author (1989)

Rick Fantasia is Associate Professor of Sociology at Smith College.

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