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Colin Barker

Not a candle

(Summer 1967)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.29, Summer 1967, p.34.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Professional Employees
Kenneth Prandy
Faber, 32s 6d

This study of professionalism and trade unionism among scientists and engineers is a might-have-been book. It adds little or nothing to the existing body of theory about the proletarianisation of the white-collar ‘professional’ and ‘semi-professional’ employees in government and industrial bureaucracies. And the data that Prandy presents are extremely thin. Almost the entire account of trade unionism amounts to the results of a remarkably unrewarding questionnaire survey carried out in the Liverpool area. There is none of the fairly dense historical data that Lockwood offered in his Black-coated Worker; and there is a complete lack of empirical data about the actual work-situations of the scientists and engineers that Prandy is investigating, beyond rather obvious general statements. The manifold tensions and contradictions of the search for status within contemporary bureaucracies, the conflicts between ‘research’ and ‘administrative’ personnel and so forth that others have documented are not even mentioned. If the study is unobjectionable in its conclusions, it is also unrewarding.

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Last updated: 6 May 2010