How Class Works in Youngstown
For retired steelworkers in Youngstown, Ohio, the label "working class" fits comfortably. Questioning the widely held view that laborers in postwar America have adopted middle-class values, Robert Bruno shows that in this community a blue-collar identity has provided a positive focus for many residents. The son of a Youngstown steelworker, Bruno returned to his hometown seeking to understand the formation of his own working-class consciousness and the place of labor in the larger capitalist society. Drawing on interviews with dozens of former steelworkers and on research in local archives, Bruno explores the culture of the community, including such subjects as relations among co-workers, class antagonism, and attitudes toward authority. He describes how, because workers are often neighbors, the workplace takes on a feeling of neighborhood. He also demonstrates that to understand class consciousness one must look beyond the workplace, in this instance from Youngstown's front porches to its bowling alleys and voting booths. Written with a deeply personal approach, Steelworker Alley is a richly detailed look at workers which reveals the continuing strength of class relationships in America.