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Working Class: Challenging Myths About Blue-Collar Labor

Jeff Torlina
Working Class: Challenging Myths About Blue-Collar Labor
ISBN: 978-1-58826-756-6
2011/223 pages/LC: 2011000465
"Presents a richness of voice of workers whose voices are not often heard."—Donella Caspersz, Journal of Sociology

"Puts forth a compelling paradigm shift for the way social class is conceptualized, specifically in regard to the working class."—Danielle Rhubart, Rural Sociology

"This book is a treasure trove of provocative insights, observations, and theoretical arguments. Torlina's work has crucial broader application for the study of working-class life in general and for the field of Working-Class Studies in particular."—Barbara Jensen, Working Class Notes


Jeff Torlina challenges the conventional wisdom about the attitudes of blue-collar men toward their work.

Torlina highlights the voices of pipe fitters, welders, carpenters, painters, locomotive assemblers, and factory workers to reveal the complexities—and advantages—of working-class life. This book is a penetrating critique of many commonly held assumptions, and a compelling case for a new understanding of our social class system.


Jeff Torlina, now retired, was assistant professor of sociology at Utah Valley University.


  • The Meaning of Work.
  • The Promise of Blue-Collar Labor.
  • How We Came to Devalue Blue-Collar Work.
  • Blue-Collar Views on the White-Collar World.
  • Conceptions of Class Hierarchy.
  • Occupational Prestige.
  • Making Sense of Working-Class Attitudes.
  • False Dichotomies.
  • Reclaiming the Value of Labor.
  • Recasting the Image of Blue-Collar Work.
  • Conclusions and Implications.
  • Appendix: Methodology and Data.