Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Wayne J. Villemez


This dissertation is a quantitative analysis of the dynamics of class culture. The project has two primary components. In part one I construct a class categorization scheme in which occupations are grouped according to the substantive complexity of work. In part two, I conduct four separate sub-analyses, each of which uses a pre-existing dataset to model the effects of class status on four dimensions of class culture: orientations to work, family power, political orientation, and class self-identification. In regard to work, I find that task complexity has an independent effect on job satisfaction; that manual workers, more than nonmanual workers, develop a tolerance for work that requires physical strength or stamina, and that an "instrumental" orientation to work is the result of low complexity, routine work. The findings on family power structures show that working-class workers tend to hold more traditional views on what constitutes an "ideal" family structure but they are no more likely than others to report actually being in families where males make most decisions. In regard to political orientation, I find that blue-collar workers are more likely to express feelings of powerlessness than others; more likely to exhibit a form of "bread and butter liberalism"; more likely to be non-interventionist when it comes to world politics, but more likely than others to hold the military in high regard. Regarding class self-identification, a good deal more variance can be explained for those at the middle of the stratification hierarchy and above than for those at the lower levels. Income, education, and consumption have positive effects on class identification for white-collar workers but less so for blue-collar workers. In comparisons of various classification schemes for identifying who is working-class, only in the orientation to work do I find significant differences. Work complexity has an effect on work attitudes which is separate from the effect of doing manual work. However, the complexity classification scheme performs similarly to the others (SES, Census Categories, Wright's Class Model, Blue/White-Collar) in analyses of away-from-work phenomena.