Working class in Portugal: contemporary changes of social conditions and processes of identification
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia - CIES Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa - ISCTE Lisboa, Portugal
Instituto de Sociologia - IS Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - FLUP Porto, Portugal
The transformations that are taking place, namely, in the economy, the labour market and the education system have important impacts on the working class constitution and its ways of living. The research centered on the working class social conditions of precariousness is a crucial field of discussion to explain the nature and modalities of the transformations of the working class identity. Having as empirical contexts two companies structurally different, both in Portugal, it is proposed to explain the link between cultural and economic changes inside the companies, the surrounding social context and the forms of acquisition, ownership and transmission of the working class heritage. The segments of the working class who are, above all the others, most affected by these changes in their trajectories and identities maintenance are those who have their sets of belief more closely connected with the material and symbolic value of the place to transmit and be inherited (i.e. "old" and "new" workers). The understanding of the social processes here in focus requires refusing an historical analysis disconnected with the singular livings and experiences. It is sustained here that biographical trajectories have to be correlated with the history of their social relations. Therefore, this communication also aims to discuss some methodological and theoretical questions present in the working class social processes of identification.