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Social polarisation or professionalisation? Another look at theory and evidence

Year: 2007
Working paper number: 202
Author: Borel-Saladin, Jacqueline
Unit: SSU
Abstract:

The debate over whether or not the de-industrialisation of cities is accompanied by the occupational and income polarisation of their working populations has been characterised by some confusion over the relationship between incomes and occupations in the service sector. Specifically, many scholars have misunderstood the significance of middle-income service sector occupations for their interpretations of the post-industrial class structure of cities. Through a comparative study of de-industrialisation in Cape Town, we present evidence to show that the growth of service sector employment can, under specific conditions, produce a large middle-income occupational class of clerks, sales and personal services workers. The growth of this class can offset the decline of middle-income jobs caused by the loss of artisans, operatives and drivers in the declining manufacturing sector.


Publication file: WP202.pdf
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