Social Policy and Society


The Workless Class? Economic Transformation, Informal Work and Male Working-Class Identity

Del Roy Fletchera1

a1 CRESR, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield E-mail:


Paid work has traditionally been seen as a core element in the construction of masculine identities. Willis (1977) has, for example, linked working-class masculinity to shop floor culture. It is, however, clear that many communities cannot rely on the stable employment around which familiar models of working-class identity were forged. This paper examines how the male residents of a deprived former council estate in the north of England have responded to the loss of traditional employment opportunities. It is argued that paid informal work has become an important way for some working-class men to express their identity.