Approaches to Class Analysis

Few themes have been as central to sociology as class and yet class remains a perpetually contested idea. Sociologists disagree not only on how best to define the concept of class but on its general role in social theory and indeed on its continued relevance to the sociological analysis of contemporary society. Some people believe that classes have largely dissolved in contemporary societies; others believe class remains one of the fundamental forms of social inequality and social power. Some see class as a narrow economic phenomenon whilst others adopt an expansive conception that includes cultural dimensions as well as economic conditions. This book explores the theoretical foundations of six major perspectives of class with each chapter written by an expert in the field. It concludes with a conceptual map of these alternative approaches by posing the question: ‘If class is the answer, what is the question?’

• Accessible, yet sophisticated, elaborations of alternative approaches to the study of class • Illustrates the problem of developing coherent concepts and the relationship of concepts to theories • Authors are prominent experts in the particular intellectual tradition they defend


List of figures; List of tables; List of contributors; Introduction Erik Olin Wright; 1. Foundations of a neo-Marxist class analysis Erik Olin Wright; 2. Foundations of a neo-Weberian class analysis Richard Breen; 3. Foundations of a neo-Durkheimian class analysis David Grusky and Gabriela Galescu; 4. Foundations of Bourdieu’s class analysis Elliot B. Weininger; 5. Foundations of a rent-based class analysis Aage B. Sørensen; 6. Foundations of a post-class analysis Jan Pakulski; Conclusion: if \'class\' is the answer, what is the question? Erik Olin Wright; References; Index.


\'… a very useful book on the sociology of class. … textbook-like coverage … excellent introductory and concluding chapters …\' Anthropological Science