Books On Social Class, Abstracts, Social
Class Bibliography, Social Class Syllabus, Journals, Bourgeoisie, Petite Bourgeoisie, Social Structure
The term social class is used in many ways in sociology. Social class implies a
group of individuals sharing a common situation within a social
structure, usually their shared place in the structure of ownership and control of the
means of production. In land based economies, class structures are based on individual's
relationship to the ownership and control of land.
Class may refer to groups of individuals with a shared characteristic relevant in
some socio-economic measurement (all individuals earning over $75,000 a year): it then has
a statistical meaning rather than being defined by social relationships.
Class is extensively used in discussing social structure, sociologists rely on the
concept of status, which offers a more complex portrait in which individuals within a
class can be seen as having quite differentiated social situations.
A social class is a group of people that have similar social status.
Karl Marx distinguished four classes in capitalist societies:
a bourgeois class who own and control the means of production,
a petite bourgeoisie of small business and professionals,
a proletariat of wage workers and a lumpenproletariat of people in
poverty and social disorganization who are excluded from the wage earning economy.
The awareness of individuals in a particular social class that they share common interests
and a common social situation. Class consciousness is associated with the development of a
class-for-itself where individuals within the class unite to pursue their
CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS, FALSE
Where members of a social class absorb and become committed to values and beliefs that
serve and support the interests of other classes rather than their own. The concept
assumes that there is an objective class interest of which its members are
Where the divisions between social classes become obvious and somewhat fixed: it is
difficult for individuals to change their social class because their whole life situation
- income, wealth, education, status - is shaped by their class location.
Usually used by political economy theorists in discussion of the corporate class to
acknowledge significant segmentation of this class. It is commonly linked to such
distinctions as that between finance-based capital and industrial-based capital, each
viewed as having different interests and perspectives. This is a useful concept in
avoiding the simplistic view that the corporate class is a necessarily unified
A class of individuals conscious of sharing a common social situation and who unite to
pursue common interests.
A social class composed of individuals who objectively share class membership - they share
social and economic situation - yet who are unconscious of their class membership or of
shared interests that unite them.
A basic form of learning whereby a neutral stimulus is paired with another stimulus that
naturally elicits a certain response; the neutral stimulus comes to elicit the same
response as the stimulus that automatically elicits the response.
Class is defined in terms of market situation. A class exists when a number of
people have in common a specific casual component of their life chances in the following
sense: this component is represented exclusively by economic interests in the possession
of goods and opportunities for income under conditions of the commodity or labor markets.
When market conditions prevail (eg, capitalism), property and lack of property are the
basic categories of all class situations. However, the concept of class-interest is
ambiguous. Collective action based on class situations is determined by the transparency
of the connections between the causes and the consequences of the class situation. If the
contrast between the life chances of different class situations is merely seen as an
acceptable absolute fact, no action will be taken to change the class situation.
A class in and of itself does not constitute a group (Gemeinschaft). ''The degree in which
social action and possibly associations emerge from the mass behavior of the members of a
class is linked to general cultural conditions, especially those of an intellectual sort''
(929). ''If classes as such are not groups, class situations emerge only on the basis of
Title Herbert Spencer : social Darwinism, 1857
Description This Web page provides extracts from 'Progress: its laws and cause' by Herbert
Spencer, originally published in the Westminster review vol.67 (April 1857). The extracts
included from this social Darwinist tract deal specifically with race and class. These
extracts have been published as part of the Internet modern history sourcebook, edited by
Paul Halsall at Fordham University, and an introduction is provided giving historial
Title Upstream : The bell curve
Description This Web page provides coverage of aspects of the debate relating to The bell
curve, the controversial book by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein published in 1994,
which attempted to provide a scientific basis of the relationship between social class,
race and intelligence. The page is hosted by a Web site dedicated to contemporary
right-wing thought, Upstream, and seeks to promote the ideas in the book and dismiss
criticisms. The page does however feature a number of book reviews by both its opponents
and proponents. Those in favour of the work are given more dominance and credence but
there are also a number of reviews arguing against it, although these are heavily
annotated with dismissive comments. Despite its heavy bias, this page is useful for those
interested in debates about social Darwinism in the late 20th century.
The Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University -
The CWCS at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, was the first center of its
kind in the United States devoted to the study of working-class life and culture. The CWCS
creates social spaces for civic and academic conversations on working-class life and
culture and its intersections with race, gender, and sexuality and serves as a
clearinghouse for information on working-class culture, issues, and pedagogy.
Official Social Classifications in the UK - The practice of officially classifying
the British population according to occupation and industry began in 1851. David Rose,
Associate Director and Professor in the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-social Change,
University of Essex, examines the history and process of the practice. -
Struggle In A Moscow Metal Factory
Mobility and American Social Policy
Class Differences in Discourse
History of the Americas
Mobility In Europe
Old Social Classes
Class and Gender in the US
Inequality Patterns and Processes
Deviance in Japan
Parlour and the Suburb
Failures of Integration
Class Got to Do With It
Theory of Global Capitalism
in the United States
Inequalities in Comparative Perspective
Class in the Context of Education
Works Because We Do
In How Class Works Aronowitz argues for the enduring vitality of the concept
of social class as a way of understanding social relations. This is a significant
contribution to social theory, an argument certain to be widely considered, debated, and
tested. --George Lipsitz