Postindustrial Elite and Non-Elite Insecurities

John Higley


A society becomes postindustrial when 40 percent of its workforce is employed in bureaucratic and service work, a proportion that increases quite rapidly to 70-75, even 80 percent (cf. Bell 1999, xv). By the 1950s the composition of workforces in the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada had reached the 40 percent threshold to postindustrial conditions, and during the succeeding two or three decades virtually all other Western countries, plus Japan, crossed it. Quite unforeseen by nearly all observers at the time, non-elites in the first postindustrial societies began to divide into two loose interest and attitude camps during the 1960s and 1970s. The camps’ boundaries were not contiguous with those of the classes and strata that derived from the agricultural, manual industrial, and non-manual workforce components so prominent during historical socioeconomic development. 

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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X