By Michael Mann
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Additional info for Consciousness and Action among the Western Working Class
A more interesting and plausible application of the theory of the new working class is to the workers of the technologically advanced and highly automated industries. The 'new working class' is composed of technically-trained manual workers, technicians and certain of the cadres of managers and engineers. Hence it transcends the traditional manual-non-manual dividing line, and also that within the working class between skilled and unskilled workers--for 'technically-trained manual workers' covers skilled and semi-skilled alike.
It is located in the most advanced and automated sector of the economy, in the chemical processing industries (chemicals, gas, oil, some foodstuffs), advanced engineering (machine tools and electrical engineering), electronics, atomic energy and sundry other innovating areas of industry. In varying degrees, these workers have polyvalent technical and scientific skills usually denied to the general managers and capitalists who control them in industry. To the British or American reader it might seem rather startling that automated production should be thought to generate increased class consciousness, for almost all English-speaking authors have stressed its 'harmonising' effects.
If we consider reformist unions, satisfaction varies positively with union membership and activism; that is, the most satisfied workers are union activists, followed by non-active members. This is true for unions in the United States and also for the moderate Force Ouvriere in France. T. 1 The possession of an alternative ideology seems to be associated here with dissatisfaction with one's present situation, the lack of it with a passive, 'satisfied' acceptance of deprivation. S. see W. C. ), there is no relationship either way.
Consciousness and Action among the Western Working Class by Michael Mann