The PCF and the question of intellectual workers : the crisis of social ideology
The aim of this thesis is to examine the approach of the Parti Communiste Franc cais (from 1956 to 1982) to the emergence of new strata of salaried `intellectual workers' (technicians, engineers, low to middle managers in industry and commerce, scientific researchers, teachers etc) parallelled by the gradual diminution of the traditional industrial working class which forms the core of the Party's support base. This examination is carried out in the context of the debate in France (initiated in the 1950s by social theorists of the Left) on the class membership and role of these strata. The reason for the emergence of such a debate is that in a society given to both a rapid evolution of its social structure and an increased polarisation between Left and Right, a precise knowledge of the objective and subjective determinations of new strata would enable parties to the Left to make proper distinctions between potential allies and adversaries. The thesis posits the view that the PCF has failed to make correct distinctions between its potential allies and adversaries and has thus pursued unsuccessful alliance strategies. The thesis contributes towards a scientifically-based understanding of one of the reasons governing the PCF's steady decline since the 1950s.