In the first section of this chapter we will briefly review the historical and theoretical debate surrounding the class location of clerical and administrative workers — particularly as it bears on the issue of clerical ‘proletarianisation’. In the second section, we will describe the evolution of the ‘clerical’ category — focusing largely on Britain — reviewing not only its proportional and numerical growth but also terms and conditions of employment, salary levels and the feminisation of clerical work. In the third section, we will return again to the ‘proletarianisation’ issue, paying particular attention both to recent refutations of the thesis and the implications of the debate for class theory more generally.
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