Research Repository

Builders, bodies and bifurcations: How London construction workers 'learn to labour'

Thiel, D (2013) 'Builders, bodies and bifurcations: How London construction workers 'learn to labour'.' Ethnography, 14 (4). 412 - 430. ISSN 1466-1381

Full text not available from this repository.


This article examines how the ideas about working-class culture presented in Paul Willis's classic monograph (1977) Learning to Labour apply or do not apply to the data generated by an ethnographic analysis of a London construction site that I conducted in 2003/4. While Learning to Labour had significant relevance to understanding the class-bound masculine cultures of the construction workers, because building work has a pre-industrial history and a post-industrial contemporary, the claim that working-class masculinity is driven predominately by the features of industrial work life is found wanting. Rather than being bound exclusively to industrial work, the exigencies of working-class-bound masculinity could be found in the builders' problematic and attenuated relationships with the modern state and its legal and moral injunctions. Such relationships to the modern state illuminate why fundamental features of working-class masculine culture are reproduced in a post-industrial global London by both migrant and more indigenous workers, and thus also illustrate part of the reason why class and ethnic inequality persist in the contemporary UK. © The Author(s) 2012.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 01 May 2013 15:37
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:22

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item