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Durham e-Theses
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The Fiddler: sociological analysis of forms of blue-collar employee theft amongst bread salesmen

Ditton, Jason (1975) The Fiddler: sociological analysis of forms of blue-collar employee theft amongst bread salesmen. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis attempts, to present the daily life of the bread salesman in such a way that certain key theoretical issues are explored and elaborated. This is done with an eye to allowing an ethnography to appear in the reading made by others, but I have been more concerned to produce a theoretical understanding of "fiddling”, that is, blue-collar occupational theft from customers. The analysis is based upon extended, periods of participant observation and unstructured interviewing. The analysis looks first, in Chapter Two, at the ‘moral career’ of the recruit salesman (how he is taught to fiddle), and then, in Chapter Three, at the everyday occupational structural support for fiddling which can be derived from the social context of 'service'. Chapter Four then looks at the wider industrial and economic context of occupational theft, and at possible theft types. Chapter Four includes a discussion of other (theoretically related) "part-time" crimes, and tries to show that the managerial tolerance of "inventory shrinkage” allows the deduction and theoretical proposal of both a "hidden economy", and a system of "invisible wages". Chapter Five returns to Wellbreads, the studied bakery, to see how the salesmen seem to combine possible theft types in a "portfolio" of techniques, the practice of which under guise of one of variously available "characters" protects their identities both practically and psychologically. Chapter Six considers the effect that brute occasions of enforcements have on these "partial" identities, and locates fiddling normatively as a subterranean subculture of 'business' itself. Chapter Seven, the conclusion, attempts to link up, and re-express intermediate conclusions, and suggest that they all find intelligibility in a context then defined as that of Commercial Social Control.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1975
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:37

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