April 27 Freewriting

What are some of the stereotypes about manual labor or white – collar work (which Crawford calls knowledge work ) ? What are the social scripts that teach us to define and evaluate this type of labor? In your view, are these attitudes accurate or fair? Why or why not? How do you apply such concepts to your own experiences with work? How much of conversation or dialogue do you encounter regarding the relationship between work and social class in general? You can talk about the ways cultural norms around work are intimately entwined with cultural norms around school by exploring how there exists (or not?) a bias within our educational system against manual labor. In what ways, do you think, such educational script needs to be rewritten? Then you can explore how the recent developments in technology have changed how we think, behave, communicate, learn, access information, and interact with others about work, social class, and working conditions.



blue-collar work is “dumb” work

white-collar work is (and is the only) “knowledge work”


social scripts suggest that the most intelligent people are the ones that go to college and get white-collar jobs, and that people should aspire to do knowledge work

  • these attitudes can lead people down less desirable paths; this would be less likely to happen if society valued all forms of labor equally

parents and high-school counselors push all students to excel in high school so they can graduate and get a college degree

  • despite the necessity and value in trade work, cultural norms push the idea that this type of work is inferior
  • trade work can provide a secure and fulfilling career to many of those who are being discouraged against it

white-collar high-salaried work, as well as much pink-collar work, is not always as knowledgeable as the stereotypes suggest



concept: white-collar work vs. blue collar work (and in-between)

  • white-collar work
    • ¬†high-salaried work: engineers, accountants
    • working in an office: lawyers, bankers
    • stereotype of “knowledge work”
  • blue-collar work
    • working in a trade: electrician, mechanic
    • lower paying jobs: assembly lines, maintenance
    • stereotype of “dumb work”
  • pink-collar work: what is it?
  • computer science and programming: white-collar or blue-collar?


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