Social class

Social class

Overview
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

, anthropologists and social historians
Social history
Social history, often called the new social history, is a branch of History that includes history of ordinary people and their strategies of coping with life. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments...

. In the social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

'. In the modern Western context, stratification typically comprises three layers: upper class
Upper class
In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

, middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

, and lower class. Each class may be further subdivided into smaller classes (e.g.
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Encyclopedia
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

, anthropologists and social historians
Social history
Social history, often called the new social history, is a branch of History that includes history of ordinary people and their strategies of coping with life. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments...

. In the social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

'. In the modern Western context, stratification typically comprises three layers: upper class
Upper class
In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

, middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

, and lower class. Each class may be further subdivided into smaller classes (e.g. occupational
Occupational prestige
Occupational prestige refers to the consensual nature of rating a job based on the collective belief of its worthiness.-History:...

).

The most basic class distinction is between the powerful and the powerless. Social classes with a great deal of power are usually viewed as "the elite
Elite
Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

s" within their own societies. Various social and political theories propose that social classes with greater power
Power (sociology)
Power is a measurement of an entity's ability to control its environment, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to...

 attempt to cement their own ranking above the lower classes in the hierarchy to the detriment of the society overall. By contrast, conservatives and structural functionalists
Structural functionalism
Structural functionalism is a broad perspective in sociology and anthropology which sets out to interpret society as a structure with interrelated parts. Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions and institutions...

 have presented class difference as intrinsic to the structure of any society and to that extent ineradicable.

In Marxist theory, the capitalist stage of production consists of two main classes: the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, the capitalists who own the means of production, and the much larger proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

 (or 'working class') who must sell their own labour power (See also: wage labour
Wage labour
Wage labour is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, where the worker sells their labour under a formal or informal employment contract. These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages are market determined...

). This is the fundamental economic structure of work and property
Relations of production
Relations of production is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their theory of historical materialism, and in Das Kapital...

 (See also: wage labour
Wage labour
Wage labour is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, where the worker sells their labour under a formal or informal employment contract. These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages are market determined...

), a state of inequality that is normalised and reproduced through cultural ideology
Base and superstructure
In Marxist theory, human society consists of two parts: the base and superstructure; the base comprehends the forces and relations of production — employer-employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations — into which people enter to produce the necessities and...

. Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 critiqued historical materialism
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

, positing that stratification is not based purely on economic inequalities but on other status and power differentials. Social class pertaining broadly to material wealth may be distinguished from status class based on honour, prestige, religious affiliation, and so on. The conditions of capitalism and its class system came together due to a variety of "elective affinities".

Theorists such as Ralf Dahrendorf
Ralf Dahrendorf
Ralf Gustav Dahrendorf, Baron Dahrendorf, KBE, FBA was a German-British sociologist, philosopher, political scientist and liberal politician....

 have noted the tendency toward an enlarged middle class in modern Western societies, particularly in relation to the necessity of an educated work force in technological economies. Perspectives concerning globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 and neocolonialism
Neocolonialism
Neocolonialism is the practice of using capitalism, globalization, and cultural forces to control a country in lieu of direct military or political control...

, such as dependency theory
Dependency theory
Dependency theory or dependencia theory is a body of social science theories predicated on the notion that resources flow from a "periphery" of poor and underdeveloped states to a "core" of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the expense of the former...

, suggest this owes to the shift of low-level labourers to developing nations and the Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

. Developed nations have thereby become less directly active in primary industry (e.g. basic manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, mining, etc.) and increasingly involved with "virtual" goods and services. The national concept of "social class" has therefore become increasingly complex and confused.

Determinants of class position


-United States is less rigid than many societies with regard to class, the socioeconomic class we belong to affects everything from how much money we make to the schools we attend, the jobs open to us,and many other things. These aspects of identity interact with gender, sexual orientation, wealth and race. Also income, education, wealth and occupation.

In class societies a person's class status is a type of group membership. Theorists disagree about the elements determining membership, but common features appear in many accounts. Among these are:
  • Relationships of production, ownership and consumption
  • A common legal status, including ceremonial, occupational and reproductive rights
  • Family
    Family
    In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...

    , kinship or tribal group structures or membership
  • Acculturation, including education
    Education
    Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...



Classes often have a distinct lifestyle that emphasizes their class. The most powerful class in a society often uses markers such as costume
Costume
The term costume can refer to wardrobe and dress in general, or to the distinctive style of dress of a particular people, class, or period. Costume may also refer to the artistic arrangement of accessories in a picture, statue, poem, or play, appropriate to the time, place, or other circumstances...

, grooming
Personal grooming
Personal grooming is the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body. It is a species-typical behavior that is controlled by neural circuits in the brain.- In humans :...

, manners
Manners
In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the...

 and language codes that mark insiders and outsiders; unique political rights such as honorary titles; and, concepts of social honour or face that are claimed to only be applicable to the in group. But each class has distinctive features, often becoming defining elements of personal identity and uniting factors in group behaviour. French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.Starting from the role of economic capital for social positioning, Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location,...

 suggests a notion of high and low classes with a distinction between bourgeois
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 tastes and sensitivities and the working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 tastes and sensitivities.

Race and other large-scale groupings can also influence class standing. The association of particular ethnic groups with class statuses is common in many societies. As a result of conquest or internal ethnic differentiation, a ruling class is often ethnically homogenous and particular races or ethnic groups in some societies are legally or customarily restricted to occupying particular class positions. Which ethnicities are considered as belonging to high or low classes varies from society to society. In modern societies strict legal links between ethnicity and class have been drawn, such as in apartheid, the caste system in Africa
Caste system in Africa
Countries in Africa who have societies with caste systems within their borders include Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Nigeria, Chad, Ethiopia, and Somalia....

, and in the position of the Burakumin
Burakumin
are a Japanese social minority group. The burakumin are one of the main minority groups in Japan, along with the Ainu of Hokkaidō, the Ryukyuans of Okinawa and Japanese residents of Korean and Chinese descent....

 in Japanese society.

A distinction often made is that of ascribed status
Ascribed status
Ascribed status is the social status a person is assigned at birth or assumed involuntarily later in life. It is a position that is neither earned nor chosen but assigned...

 versus achieved status
Achieved status
Achieved status is a sociological term denoting a social position that a person can acquire on the basis of merit; it is a position that is earned or chosen. It is the opposite of ascribed status. It reflects personal skills, abilities, and efforts...

. This deals with difference between obtained class identification, and whether social standing is determined at birth or earned over a lifetime. Achieved status
Achieved status
Achieved status is a sociological term denoting a social position that a person can acquire on the basis of merit; it is a position that is earned or chosen. It is the opposite of ascribed status. It reflects personal skills, abilities, and efforts...

es are acquired based on merit, skills, abilities, and actions. Examples of achieved status include being a doctor or even being a criminal—the status then determines a set of behaviors and expectations for the individual.

Consequences of class position


Different consumption of social goods is the most visible consequence of class. In modern societies, it manifests as income inequality, though in subsistence societies it manifested as malnutrition and periodic starvation. Although class status is not a causal factor for income, there is consistent data that show those in higher classes have higher incomes than those in lower classes. This inequality still persists when controlling for occupation. The conditions at work vary greatly depending on class. Those in the upper-middle class and middle class enjoy greater freedoms in their occupations. They generally are more respected, enjoy more diversity, and are able to exhibit some authority. Those in lower classes tend to feel more alienated and have lower work satisfaction overall. The physical conditions of the workplace differ greatly between classes. While middle-class workers may "suffer alienating conditions" or "lack of job satisfaction", blue-collar workers suffer alienating, often routine, work with obvious physical health hazards, injury, and even death.

In the more social sphere, class has direct consequences on lifestyle. Lifestyle includes tastes, preferences, and a general style of living. These lifestyles could quite possibly affect educational attainment, and therefore status attainment. Class lifestyle also affects how children are raised. For example, a working-class person is more likely to raise their child to be working class and middle-class children are more likely to be raised to be middle-class. This perpetuates the idea of class for future generations.

Theoretical models


Theoretical models of class seek to explain how class relationships come into being, and why particular class relationships exist across broadly similar societies.

Marxist


The Marxist conception of class involves a collective group of individuals that share similar economic and social relations relative to each other in society. A class is a group with intrinsic tendencies and interests that are different from, and may be opposed to the interests of other groups in society. For example, it is in the laborer's best interest to maximize wages and benefits and in the capitalist's best interest to maximize profit at the expense of such, leading to a contradiction within the capitalist system, even if the laborers and capitalists themselves are unaware of these class dichotomies.

For Marx, class involves two factors:
Objective factors: A class shares a common relationship
Relations of production
Relations of production is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their theory of historical materialism, and in Das Kapital...

 to the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

. That is, all people in one class make their living in a common way in terms of ownership of the things that produce social goods. A class may own things, own land, own people, be owned, own nothing but their labor. A class will extract tax, produce agriculture, enslave and work others, be enslaved and work, or work for a wage.
Subjective factors: The members will necessarily have some perception of their similarity and common interest. Marx termed this Class consciousness
Class consciousness
Class consciousness is consciousness of one's social class or economic rank in society. From the perspective of Marxist theory, it refers to the self-awareness, or lack thereof, of a particular class; its capacity to act in its own rational interests; or its awareness of the historical tasks...

. Class consciousness is not simply an awareness of one's own class interest (for instance, the maximisation of shareholder value; or, the maximization of the wage with the minimization of the working day), class consciousness also embodies deeply shared views of how society should be organized legally, culturally, socially and politically.

The first criterion divides a society into the owners and non-owners of means of production. In capitalism, these are capitalist (bourgeoisie) and proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

. Finer divisions can be made, however: the most important subgroup in capitalism being petite bourgeoisie
Petite bourgeoisie
Petit-bourgeois or petty bourgeois is a term that originally referred to the members of the lower middle social classes in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

 (small bourgeoisie), people who possess their own means of production but utilize it primarily by working on it themselves rather than hiring others to work on it. They include self-employed artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

s, small shopkeepers, and many professional
Professional
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

s. Jon Elster has found mention in Marx of 15 classes from various historical periods.
Jon Elster's explanation of Marx's schema of classes.
Social mode of production Ruling classes other classes example society
Primitive communism No classes Many pre-agricultural societies
Asiatic mode of production Bureaucrats or theocrats [unnamed class] Archaic Egyptian society
Slave societies Slave owners, Patricians Plebeians, freemen, slaves 16th to 19th century America, Ancient Rome
Feudal societies Landowners, clergy guild masters, journeymen, serfs 12th century Western Europe
Capitalist societies Industrial and financial capitalists the petit bourgeoisie, the peasantry, wage labourers 19th century Europe until present


A prerequisite for classes is existence of sufficient surplus product
Surplus product
Surplus product is a concept explicitly theorised by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. Marx first began to work out his idea of surplus product in his 1844 notes on James Mill's Elements of political economy...

. Marxists
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 explain the history of "civilized" societies in terms of a war of classes
Class conflict
Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

 between those who control production and those who produce the goods or services in society. In the Marxist view of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, this is a conflict between capitalists (bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

) and wage-workers
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 (the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

). For Marxists, class antagonism is rooted in the situation that control over social production necessarily entails control over the class which produces goods—in capitalism this is the exploitation
Exploitation
This article discusses the term exploitation in the meaning of using something in an unjust or cruel manner.- As unjust benefit :In political economy, economics, and sociology, exploitation involves a persistent social relationship in which certain persons are being mistreated or unfairly used for...

 of workers by the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

.

Marx himself argued that it was the goal of the proletariat itself to displace the capitalist system with socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, changing the social relationships underpinning the class system and then developing into a future communist society in which: "..the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." (Communist Manifesto) This would mark the beginning of a classless society in which human needs rather than profit would be motive for production. In a society with democratic control and production for use, there would be no class, no state and no need for money.

Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 has defined classes as "large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated in law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organization of labor, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it." Great Beginning

Proletarianisation


The most important transformation of society for Marxists has been the massive and rapid growth of the proletariat the last two hundred and fifty years. Starting with agricultural and domestic textile laborers in England and Flanders, more and more occupations only provide a living through wages or salaries. Private manufacturing, leading to self-employment, is no longer as viable as it was before the industrial revolution, because automation made manufacturing very cheap. Many people who once controlled their own labor-time were converted into proletarians through industrialization. Today groups which in the past subsisted on stipends or private wealth—like doctors, academics or lawyers—are now increasingly working as wage laborers. Marxists call this process proletarianization
Proletarianization
Proletarianization is a concept in Marxism and Marxist sociology. It refers to the social process whereby people move from being either an employer, unemployed or self-employed, to being employed as wage labor by an employer...

, and point to it as the major factor in the proletariat being the largest class in current societies in the rich countries of the "first world."

The increasing dissolution of the peasant-lord relationship (see pre-capitalist societies), initially in the commercially active and industrializing countries, and then in the unindustrialized countries as well, has virtually eliminated the class of peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s. Poor rural laborers still exist, but their current relationship with production is predominantly as landless wage labourers or rural proletarians. The destruction of the peasantry, and its conversion into a rural proletariat, is largely a result of the general proletarianization of all work. This process is today largely complete, although it was arguably incomplete in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dialectics, or historical materialism, in Marxist class


Marx saw class categories as defined by continuing historical processes. Classes, in Marxism, are not static entities, but are regenerated daily through the productive process. Marxism views classes as human social relationships which change over time, with historical commonality created through shared productive processes. A 17th century farm labourer who worked for day wages shares a similar relationship to production as an average office worker of the 21st century. In this example, it is the shared structure of wage labour that makes both of these individuals "working class."

Objective and subjective factors in class in Marxism


Marxism has a rather heavily defined dialectic between objective factors (i.e., material conditions, the social structure) and subjective factors (i.e. the conscious organization of class members). While most Marxism analyses people's class based on objective factors (class structure), major Marxist trends have made greater use of subjective factors in understanding the history of the working class. E.P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class
The Making of the English Working Class
The Making of the English Working Class is an influential and pivotal work of English social history, written by E. P. Thompson, a notable 'New Left' historian; it was published in 1963 by Victor Gollancz Ltd, and later republished at Pelican, becoming an early Open University Set Book...

is a definitive example of this "subjective" Marxist trend. Thompson analyses the English working class as a group of people with shared material conditions coming to a positive self-consciousness of their social position. This feature of social class is commonly termed class consciousness
Class consciousness
Class consciousness is consciousness of one's social class or economic rank in society. From the perspective of Marxist theory, it refers to the self-awareness, or lack thereof, of a particular class; its capacity to act in its own rational interests; or its awareness of the historical tasks...

 in Marxism, a concept which became famous with Georg Lukács
Georg Lukács
György Lukács was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic. He is a founder of the tradition of Western Marxism. He contributed the concept of reification to Marxist philosophy and theory and expanded Karl Marx's theory of class consciousness. Lukács' was also an influential literary...

' History and Class Consciousness (1923). It is seen as the process of a "class in itself" moving in the direction of a "class for itself", a collective agent that changes history rather than simply being a victim of the historical process. In Lukács' words, the proletariat was the "subject
Subject (philosophy)
In philosophy, a subject is a being that has subjective experiences, subjective consciousness or a relationship with another entity . A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed...

object
Object (philosophy)
An object in philosophy is a technical term often used in contrast to the term subject. Consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject, which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts, and some object or objects that may or may not have real existence without...

 of history", and the first class which could separate false consciousness (inherent to the bourgeois's consciousness), which reified
Reification
Reification generally refers to bringing into being or turning concrete.Specifically, reification may refer to:*Reification , making a data model for a previously abstract concept...

 economic laws as universal
Universality (philosophy)
In philosophy, universalism is a doctrine or school claiming universal facts can be discovered and is therefore understood as being in opposition to relativism. In certain religions, universality is the quality ascribed to an entity whose existence is consistent throughout the universe...

 (whereas they are only a consequence of historic capitalism).

Max Weber



The seminal sociological interpretation of class was advanced by Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

. Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification
Three-component theory of stratification
The three-component theory of stratification, more widely known as Weberian Stratification or Three Class System, was developed by German sociologist Max Weber with class, status and party as distinct ideal types. Weber developed a multidimensional approach to Social stratification that reflects...

, with class, status and party (or politics) as subordinate to the ownership of the means of production, but for Weber how they interact is a contingent question and one that will vary from society to society. Weber is also known for his six "American Dream" Values which are: 1) Hard work, 2) Universalism, 3) Individualism, 4) Wealth, 5) Activism, and 6) Rationality.

Academic models


Schools of sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 differ in how they conceptualize class. A distinction can be drawn between analytical concepts of social class, such as the Marxian and Weberian traditions, and the more empirical traditions such as socio-economic status approach, which notes the correlation of income, education and wealth with social outcomes without necessarily implying a particular theory of social structure. The Warnerian approach can be considered empirical in the sense that it is more descriptive than analytical.

The traditional `pigeon-holing' mainstay of much of the advertising industry used to be that of social class. Recently, however, as affluence has become more widespread, the process has become much less clear. It is now argued that the new `opinion leaders' come from within the same social class. The class groupings that were traditionally used by advertising agencies (for example in the NRS social grade
NRS social grade
The NRS social grades are a system of demographic classification used in the United Kingdom. They were originally developed by the National Readership Survey in order to classify readers, but are now used by many other organisations for wider applications and have become a standard for market...

 schema were: AB - Managerial and professional, C1 -Supervisory and clerical, C2- Skilled manual, DE-Unskilled manual and unemployed.) have been reported to be of decreasing value in recent decades, especially in the distinction between clerical workers and manual workers in education and disposable income.

Whereas some four decades ago, when these groupings were first widely used, the numbers in each of the main categories (C, D and E) were reasonably well balanced, today the C group in total (although now usually split to give C1 and C2) forms such a large sector that it dominates the whole classification system and offers less in terms of usable concentration of marketing effort. http://futureobservatory.dyndns.org/9432.htm

William Lloyd Warner


An early example of a stratum class model was developed by the sociologist William Lloyd Warner in his 1949 book, Social Class in America. For many decades, the Warnerian theory was dominant in U.S. sociological theory.

Based on social anthropology
Social anthropology
Social Anthropology is one of the four or five branches of anthropology that studies how contemporary human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology investigate, often through long-term, intensive field studies , the social organization of a particular person: customs,...

, Warner divided Americans into three classes (upper, middle, and lower), then further subdivided each of these into an "upper" and "lower" segment, with the following postulates:
  • Upper upper class. "Old money." People who have been born into and raised with wealth; mostly consists of old noble or prestigious families (e.g., Earl of Shrewsbury
    Earl of Shrewsbury
    Earl of Shrewsbury is a hereditary title of nobility created twice in the peerage of England.-First creation, 1074:The first creation occurred in 1074 for Roger de Montgomerie, one of William the Conqueror's principal counselors...

    , Vanderbilt
    Vanderbilt family
    The Vanderbilt family is an American family of Dutch origin prominent during the Gilded Age. It started off with the shipping and railroad empires of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and expanded into various other areas of industry and philanthropy...

    , Rockefeller).
  • Lower upper class. "New money." Individuals who have become rich within their own lifetimes (e.g., entrepreneurs, movie stars, top athletes, as well as some prominent professionals).
  • Upper middle class. Professionals with a college education, and more often with professional or academic postgraduate degrees like MDs, Ph.D.s, JDs, MBAs, MSs, etc. (e.g., doctors, engineers, dentists, lawyers, bankers, corporate executives, school principals and superintendents, head teachers, university professors, scientists, pharmacists, airline pilots, ship captains, accountants, actuaries, high level civil servants, politicians, and military officers, architects, artists, writers, poets, and musicians).
  • Lower middle class. Lower-paid white collar workers, but not manual laborers. Often hold Associates or Bachelor degrees. (e.g., police officers, fire fighters, primary and high school teachers, nurses, municipal office workers and low to mid-level civil servants, sales representatives, non-management office workers, clergy, technicians, small business owners).
  • Upper lower class. Blue-collar workers and manual labourers. Also known as the "working class."
  • Lower lower class. The homeless and permanently unemployed, as well as the "working poor."


To Warner, American social class was based more on attitudes than on the actual amount of money an individual made. For example, the richest people in America would belong to the "lower upper class" since many of them created their own fortunes; one can only be born into the highest class. Nonetheless, members of the wealthy upper-upper class tend to be more powerful, as a simple survey of U.S. presidents may demonstrate (i.e., the Roosevelt
Roosevelt family
In heraldry, canting arms are a visual or pictorial play on a surname, and were and still are a popular practice. It would be common to find roses, then, in arms of many Roosevelt families, even unrelated ones...

s; Kennedys
Kennedy family
In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the...

; Bushes
Bush family
The Bush family is a prominent American family. Along with many members who have been successful bankers and businessmen, across three generations the family includes two U.S. Senators, one Supreme Court Justice, two Governors, one Vice President and two Presidents...

).

Another observation: members of the upper lower class might make more money than members of the lower middle class (i.e., a well-salaried factory worker vs. a secretarial worker), but the class difference is based on the type of work they perform.

In his research findings, Warner observed that American social class was largely based on these shared attitudes. For example, he noted that the lower middle class tended to be the most conservative group of all, since very little separated them from the working class. The upper-middle class, while a relatively small section of the population, usually "set the standard" for proper American behavior, as reflected in the mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

.

Professionals with salaries and educational attainment higher than those found near the middle of the income strata (e.g. bottom rung professors, managerial office workers, architects) may also be considered as being true middle class.

Coleman and Rainwater


In 1978 sociologists Coleman and Rainwater conceived the "Metropolitan Class Structure" consisting of three social classes, each with a number of sub-classes.
  • Upper Americans
    • Upper-upper class; (ca. 1%) Old money stemming from inherited wealth. Persons in this class typically have an "Ivy league college degree." Their household income in 1978 was over $500,000 ($1,673,215 in 2005 dollars)
    • Lower-upper class; (ca. 1%) This is the "Success elite" consisting of "Top professionals [and] senior corporate executives." People in this class have degrees from "Good colleges." Their household income was also commonly in excess of $77,000 ($251,000 in 2005 dollars).Nouveau riche (French
      French language
      French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

       for "new rich"), or new money, refers to a person who has acquired considerable wealth
      Wealth
      Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth is derived from the old English wela, which is from an Indo-European word stem...

       within his or her generation
      Generation
      Generation , also known as procreation in biological sciences, is the act of producing offspring....

      . This term is generally used to emphasize that the individual was previously part of a lower socioeconomic rank, and that such wealth has provided the means for the acquisition of goods or luxuries that were previously unobtainable.
    • Upper-middle class; (ca. 19%) Also called the "Professional and Managerial" class, it consists of "Middle professionals and managers" with a college and often graduate degrees. Household incomes for this group lay between $35,000 ($114,000 in 2005 dollars) and $60,000 ($183,000 in 2005 dollars)
  • Middle Americans
    • Middle class; (ca. 31%) This class consists of "Lower-level managers; small-business owners; lower-status professionals (teachers); sales and clerical" workers. Middle class persons had a high school diploma and some college education. Their household incomes commonly ranged between $10,000 and $20,000 ($30,000 - $60,000 in 2005 dollars)
    • Working class; (ca. 35%) This class consists of "Higher blue collar (craftsman, truck drivers); lowest-paid sales and clerical" workers. Younger individuals in 1978 who were members of this class had a high school education. Their household income lay in between $7,500 and $15,000 ($23,000 - $45,000 in 2005 dollars)
  • Lower Americans (ca. 13%)
    • Semipoor; This class had high school education and consisted of "labor and service" workers with household incomes ranging from $4,500 to $6,000 ($14,000 - $18,000 in 2005 dollars)
    • The bottom; Those who are "Often unemployed" or rely on welfare payments.Household incomes of less than $4,500 ($14,000 in 2005 dollars)

Thompson & Hickey



In their 2005 sociology textbook, Society in Focus, sociologists William Thompson and Joseph Hickey present a five class model in which the middle class is divided into two sections and the term working class is applied to clerical and pink collar workers. Their class system goes as follows:
  • Upper class, (ca. 1%-5%) individuals with considerable power over the nation's economic and political institutions. This group owns a disproportionate share of the nation's resources. The top 1% had incomes
    Income in the United States
    Income in the United States is measured by the United States Department of Commerce either by household or individual. The differences between household and personal income is considerable since 42% of households, the majority of those in the top two quintiles with incomes exceeding $57,658, now...

     exceeding $250,000 with the top 5% having household incomes
    Household income in the United States
    Household income is a measure commonly used by the United States government and private institutions, that counts the income of all residents over the age of 18 in each household, including not only all wages and salaries, but such items as unemployment insurance, disability payments, child support...

     exceeding $140,000. This group features strong group solidarity and is largely constituted by the heirs to multi-generational fortunes. Prominent government officials, CEOs and successful entrepreneurs are among the upper class even if not of elite background.
  • Upper middle class, (ca. 15%) white collar professionals with advanced post-secondary education
    Educational attainment in the United States
    The educational attainment of the U.S. population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the...

     such as physicians, professors, lawyers, corporate executives, and other management. While households commonly have six figure incomes in this group, the majority of income earners do not. Only 6% of persons had six figure incomes while 15% were upper middle class. While high educational attainment
    Educational attainment in the United States
    The educational attainment of the U.S. population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the...

     commonly serves as the staple mark of this group, entrepreneurs and business owners may also be upper middle class even if lacking advanced educational attainment.
  • Lower middle class, (ca. 33%) individuals who worked their way through college and commonly have a Bachelor's degree or some college education
    Educational attainment in the United States
    The educational attainment of the U.S. population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the...

    . School teachers, sales-employees and lower to mid level supervisors rank among those in this particular group. Household income
    Household income in the United States
    Household income is a measure commonly used by the United States government and private institutions, that counts the income of all residents over the age of 18 in each household, including not only all wages and salaries, but such items as unemployment insurance, disability payments, child support...

     is generally in the range of $30,000 to $75,000. Workers in this group are mostly white collar but have less autonomy in their work than do upper middle class professionals. Members of this class often attempt to emulate those in the two higher classes and have recently become overly indebted by their desire to have a comfortable lifestyle.
  • Working class, (ca. 30%) individuals who occupy both blue and white collar occupations. Pink collar workers in predominantly female clerical positions are common in this class. Job security tends to be low for this group and unemployment as well as losing health insurance remain potent economic threats. Household incomes
    Household income in the United States
    Household income is a measure commonly used by the United States government and private institutions, that counts the income of all residents over the age of 18 in each household, including not only all wages and salaries, but such items as unemployment insurance, disability payments, child support...

     typically range from $16,000 to $30,000.
  • Lower class, repeated cycles of unemployment, working multiple low-level part-time jobs are common among this group. Many families fall below the poverty line
    Poverty in the United States
    Poverty is defined as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday September 13th, 2011, the nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and to its highest level...

     from time to time when employment opportunities are scarce.



Gilbert & Kahl


In The American Class Structure, 6th edition (Wadsworth 2002) as well the preceding 5th edition, Dennis Gilbert lays out an even more precise breakdown of American social classes. Dennis Gilbert stresses that "there is really no way to establish that a particular model is 'true' and another 'false.'" He furthermore states that his "model emphasizes sources of income" and that household income, being very dependent on the number of income earners, varies greatly within each social class. The class descriptions in quotes below are lifted from the 5th edition, pages 284 and 285.
  • Capitalist class; (ca. 1%) "Subdivided into nationals and locals, whose income is derived largely from return on assets." However, the top 1.5% of households made $250,000 or more with only 146,000, 0.01% of households having incomes of $1,600,000 or more.
  • Upper middle class; (ca. 14%) "...college trained professionals and managers (a few of whom ascend to such heights of bureaucratic dominance or accumulated wealth that they become part of the capitalist class)." Educational attainment is the main feature of this class. They enjoy great job autonomy and economic security. Household incomes vary greatly depending of the number of income earners." Considering US Census Bureau According to the 2005 Economic Survey, the top 15% of income earners made $62,500 or more with the top 15% of households having six figure incomes.
  • Middle class; (ca. 30%) "...members have significant skills and perform varied tasks at work, under loose supervision. They earn enough to afford a comfortable, mainstream lifestyle. Most wear white collars, but some wear blue." In 2005 incomes for this group would have ranged from $50,000 to $90,000 for households and $27,500 to $52,500 for individuals.
  • Working class; (ca. 30%) "People who are less skilled than members of the middle class and work at highly routinized, closely supervised manual and clerical jobs. Their work provides them with a relatively stable income sufficient to maintain a living standard just below the mainstream." Incomes in 2005 would have ranged from $10,000 to $27,500 for individuals and $20,000 to $50,000 for households.
  • Working poor; (ca. 13%) "...people employed in low-skill jobs, often at marginal firms. The members of this class are typically laborers, service workers, or low-paid operators. Their incomes leave them well below mainstream living standards. Moreover, they cannot depend on steady employment." In 2004 the bottom 12.2% of households made less than $12,500.
  • Underclass (ca. 12%) "...members have limited participation in the labor force and do not have wealth to fall back on. Many depend on government transfers." The average household income is $12,000 a year, and the class makes up 12% of the population.

Chinese model




Some sociologists lay out a detailed model of Chinese social stratification
Social structure of China
The social structure of China has a very long history, going from the feudal society of imperial times to the industrializing and urbanizing society of today.The teaching of Confucius taught of five basic relationships in life:...

 after 1949. In China today, there is a peasant class, a working class (urban state worker and urban collective worker, urban non-state worker, and peasant worker), a capitalist class (about 15 million), and a class of cadre
Professional revolutionaries
The concept of professional revolutionaries, alternatively called cadre, is in origin a Leninist concept used to describe a body of devoted communists who spend the majority of their free time organizing their party toward a mass revolutionary party capable of leading a workers' revolution...

 (about 40 million) and quasi-cadre (about 27 million).

Iranian model


Farhad Nomani and Sohrab Behdad in their book Class and Labor in Iran; Did the Revolution Matter? (Syracuse University Press, 2006) define and quantify social classes in Iran and examine the changes in the configuration of social classes in the post-revolutionary Iran.
Nomani and Behdad base their analysis (à la Erik Olin Wright 1 ) on three dimensions of (1) property ownership, (2) possession of scarce skills/credentials, and (3) organizational assets/authority. They recognize four distinct class categories and the ambiguous category of political functionaries of the state:
  1. Capitalists: Owners of physical and financial means of economic activities, who employ workers. Capitalists are divided into modern and traditional occupational categories.
  2. Petty bourgeoisie: Self-employed persons who do not hire any paid worker but may rely on unpaid family labor. They, too, consist of modern and traditional categories.
  3. The middle class: Employees of the state or the private sector, in administrative-managerial and professional-technical positions. They exercise some authority and enjoy relative autonomy. In this category are those who are employed in economic activities and social services of the state. Those employed in the administrative or managerial position in the political apparatus of the state are not included here.
  4. The working class: Workers who do not own the means of economic activity and do not benefit from the authority and autonomy of those in the middle class. They are employees of the state or the private sector, excluding those in the lower ranks of the political apparatus of the state.


Those employed in the political apparatus of the state, engaged in political administration, national defense and domestic surveillance, constitute the ambiguous class category of political functionaries. This category includes higher rank of state administrators, managers, and military and para-military officers, the rank file of the political apparatus, and the lower rank members of the coercive forces (including the military draftees).

The post 1979 revolutionary turmoil had notable impacts on the class reconfiguration of Iran (see table below). The disruption of the accumulation process in the first revolutionary decade (Khomeini period) retarded the capitalist relations of production (structural involution ). This condition gave rise to deproletarianization of labor and peasantization of agriculture, and a general expansion in petty-commodity activities and a rise of the petty bourgeoisie, alongside a huge expansion of state activities. In the post-Khomeini period, the effort toward reconstitution of capitalist relations of production via an economic liberalization policy (deinvolutionary process) reversed some of the previous trends. In the second post-revolutionary period an increase in proletarianization of labor and de-peasantization of agriculture is observed. The first (involutionary ²) period promoted traditional capitalists and the petty bourgeoisie, whereas in the second (deinvolutionary) period the number of modern capitalists, modern petty bourgeoisie, and the middle class (especially those employed by the private sector) increased significantly.

In a comparison of the class structure in 1996 with that in 1976 one can observe that in spite of some peculiar differences, there are striking similarities between the two periods. If the changes between 1986 and 1996 may be regarded as a trend, there is a pattern toward reconstruction of the 1976 class configuration of Iran in the years ahead.

1- Wright, Erik Olin (1997) Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2- Nomani and Behdad (2006). Class and Labor in Iran; Did the Revolution Matter? Syracuse University Press, Chapter 3.

Middle class



In about the 1770s, when the term "social class" first entered the English lexicon, the concept of a "middle class" within that structure was also becoming important. The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 was allowing a much greater portion of the population to have time for the kind of education and cultural pursuits once restricted to the European feudal division of aristocracy
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

, bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, and peasantry which in that period would have included what later became the industrial proletarians of the towns and cities.

Today, concepts of social class assume three general categories: an upper class of proprietors and senior managers; a middle class of people who may not exert power over others, but may earn a significant proportion of their income through commerce, land ownership, or professional employment; and a lower class, who rely on wages for their livelihood.

It is important, however, to highlight the distinction of such a class model from that of the British concept of class in which the terms upper, middle and working-class have different definitions. The chief difference relates to the association of inherited wealth and landed property as a defining characteristic of the upper class. This distinguishes its members from those of the middle class whose membership is more fluid and more reliant upon employment status and its income. This is a broad generalization as there are classes within the middle class, such as the upper middle class whose interest in culture, and whose manners and mores distinguish them from other ranks in the middle strata, but is nonetheless a useful marker by which to distinguish the British concept of class from that of the new world.

In the United States, the term "middle class" is applied very broadly and includes people who would elsewhere be considered working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

. As the vast majority of Americans identify themselves as being middle class, there are multiple theories as to what constitutes the American middle class
American middle class
The American middle class is a social class in the United States. While the concept is typically ambiguous in popular opinion and common language use, contemporary social scientists have put forward several, more or less congruent, theories on the American middle class...

. The term has been used to describe people from all walks of life, from janitors to attorneys. The definition of middle class is also relevant to the perspective of the individual. Due to the high standard of living in wealthy countries such as the U.S., the term middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

 is also relevant to the standard of living of the majority of people in the world.

From this perspective, the term middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

 becomes more inclusive. As a result, the US middle class is often sub-divided into two or three groups. While one set of theories claim that the middle class is composed of those in the middle of the social strata
Social structure of the United States
Social class is a controversial issue in the United States, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its very existence. Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the "rich", the "middle class", and the "poor"...

, other theories maintain that professionals and managers who have a college degree
Educational attainment in the United States
The educational attainment of the U.S. population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the...

 make up most of the middle class. In 2005 roughly 35% of Americans worked in the professional/professional support or managerial field and 27% had a college degree. Sociologists such as Dennis Gilbert
Dennis Gilbert
Dennis Gilbert is professor and chair of sociology at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and has taught at the Universidad Catlica in Lima, Peru, Cornell University and joined Hamilton college in 1976. He has published a variety of sociology books,...

 or Joseph J. Hickey argue that the middle class is divided into two sub-groups. The upper middle class consists of white collar professionals with advanced educations and constitutes roughly 15% of the population. In 2005 the top 15% of income earners (age 25+) had incomes exceeding $62,500. The lower middle class (or middle-middle class for those who divide the middle class into three segments) consists of other mostly white collar employees with less autonomy in their work, lower educational attainment
Educational attainment in the United States
The educational attainment of the U.S. population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the...

, lower personal income
Personal income in the United States
Personal income is an individual’s total earnings from wages, investment interest, and other sources. In the United States the most widely cited personal income statistics are the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s personal income and the Census Bureau’s per capita money income...

 and less prestige than those of the upper middle class.

Sociologists such as Gilbert, Hickey, James Henslin, and William Thompson
William Thompson (philosopher)
William Thompson was an Irish political and philosophical writer and social reformer, developing from utilitarianism into an early critic of capitalist exploitation whose ideas influenced the Cooperative, Trade Union and Chartist movements as well as Karl Marx...

 have brought forth class models in which the middle class is divided into two sections which combine to represent 47% to 49% of the population. Economist Michael Zweig defines class as power relationships among the members of a society, rather than as a lifestyle or by income. Zweig says that the middle class is only about 34% of the U.S. population, typically employed as managers, supervisors, small business owners and other professional people.

Class structure in various societies


Although class can be discerned in any society, some cultures have published specific guidelines to rank. In some cases, the ideologies presented in these rankings may not concur with the mainstream power dialectic of social class as it is understood in modern English use.

Ancient Rome



Social class in ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 played a major role in the lives of Romans. Ancient Roman society was hierarchical. Free-born adult male Roman citizens
Roman citizenship
Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged political and legal status afforded to certain free-born individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance....

 were divided into several classes, both by ancestry and by property. There were also several classes of non-citizens with different legal rights, along with slaves
Slavery in antiquity
Slavery in the ancient world, specifically, in Mediterranean cultures, comprised a mixture of debt-slavery, slavery as a punishment for crime, and the enslavement of prisoners of war....

, who had no rights, and could be ejected or sold by their master.

Renaissance Europe


The Mantegna Tarocchi
Mantegna Tarocchi
The Mantegna Tarocchi, also known as the Tarocchi Cards, Tarocchi in the style of Mantegna, Baldini Cards, are two different sets each of fifty 15th century Italian old master prints in engraving, by two different unknown artists...

, sets of cards made as an educational aid in Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

 in the late 15th century, used the following hierarchy for the "Conditions of Man", largely ignoring the rural population:
1 Beggar
2 Servant (Famiglio)
3 Craftsman (Artigiano)
4 Merchant (Mercante) - presumably living mostly off income as a landlord
5 Gentleman (gentiluomo)
6 Knight (cavaliere)
7 Doge (doge)- i.e. a local ruler
8 King (Re)
9 Emperor (Imperatore)
10 Pope (Papa)

Aztec


Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 society traditionally was divided into classes. The highest class were the pīpiltin or nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. Originally this status was not hereditary, although the sons of pillis had access to better resources and education, so it was easier for them to become pillis. Later the class system took on hereditary aspects.

The second class were the mācehualtin (people), originally peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s. Eduardo Noguera
estimates that in later stages only 20% of the population was dedicated to agriculture and food production. The other 80% of society were warriors, artisans and traders.

Slaves
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 or tlacotin also constituted an important class. Aztecs could become slaves because of debts, as a criminal punishment or as war captives. A slave could have possessions and even own other slaves.

Traveling merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

s called pochteca
Pochteca
Pochteca were professional, long-distance traveling merchants in the Aztec Empire. They were a small, but important class as they not only facilitated commerce, but also communicated vital information across the empire and beyond its borders. The trade or commerce was referred to as pochtecayotl...

h
were a small, but important class as they not only facilitated commerce, but also communicated vital information across the empire and beyond its borders. They were often employed as spies.

Chinese


In pre-Confucian China, the feudal system divided the population into six classes. Four noble classes with the King (王, wáng) at the top, followed by the Dukes (诸侯, zhūhóu), then the Great Men (大夫, dàifu) and finally the Scholars (士, shì). Below the noble classes were the Commoners (庶民, shùmín) and Slaves (奴隶, núlì).

See main article of below description for Confucian classes: Four occupations
Four occupations
The four occupations or "four categories of the people" was a hierarchic social class structure developed in ancient China by either Confucian or Legalist scholars as far back as the late Zhou Dynasty and is considered a central part of the Fengjian social structure...



Confucian doctrine later minimized the importance of the nobles (except the emperor), abolished great men and scholars as noble classes, and further divided commoner workers based on the perceived usefulness of their work. Scholars (now not exclusively nobles) ranked the highest because the opportunity to conceive clear ideas in a state of leisure would lead them to wise laws (an idea that has much in common with Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

's ideal of a philosopher king
Philosopher king
Philosopher kings are the rulers, or Guardians, of Plato's Utopian Kallipolis. If his ideal city-state is to ever come into being, "philosophers [must] become kings…or those now called kings [must]…genuinely and adequately philosophize" .-In Book VI of The Republic:Plato defined a philosopher...

). The scholars were mainly from the gentry
Gentry
Gentry denotes "well-born and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past....

, who owned land, and may be educated and wealthy but had no aristocratic titles. Under them were the farmers, who produced necessary food, and the artisans who produced useful objects. Merchants ranked at the bottom because they did not actually produce anything, while soldiers were sometimes ranked even lower because of their perceived expendability. The Confucian model is notably different from the modern European view of social class, since merchants could attain great wealth without reaching the social status accorded to a poor farmer. In practice, a rich merchant might purchase land to reach farmer status, or even buy a good education for his heirs in the hopes that they would attain scholar status and go into the imperial civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

. The Chinese model was widely disseminated throughout east Asia. http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/faculty/hodgson/Courses/so191/Projects2003/LauraB/part_2.html/

Pre-revolutionary French


France was a monarchy
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 with a king and other princes at the top of the class structure. The French States-General
French States-General
In France under the Old Regime, the States-General or Estates-General , was a legislative assembly of the different classes of French subjects. It had a separate assembly for each of the three estates, which were called and dismissed by the king...

, established in 1302 was an assembly whose members were ranked according to hereditary class. The First Estate was the clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

, all Roman Catholic, and by this time with the bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s and higher roles dominated by sons of the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. The Second Estate consisted of lay members of the nobility, who constituted approximately two percent of the total population. The Third Estate consisted, technically, of everyone else, but was represented by representatives elected by a complicated system, in practice dominated by the bourgeois lawyers who held offices in the various regional Parlement
Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

s. The peasantry had no official status in this system. This may be contrasted with the ideologically high status of farmers in Confucian China. The rigidity of the French hereditary system has been suggested as a major cause of the French Revolution
Causes of the French Revolution
The Causes of the French Revolution were the significant historical factors that led to the revolution of 1789 in France.Although France in 1785 faced economic difficulties, mostly concerning the equitability of taxation, it was one of the richest and most powerful nations of Europe...

.

Indian


Traditionally, the Indian caste system was one of the oldest and most important systems of social class. It differs from varnashrama dharma
Dharma
Dharma means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. In the context of Hinduism, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling and duties, and a Hindu's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender...

 found in Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, which allowed people born into a certain varna to move upward or downwards depending on their qualification. It divided society based on skill and qualifications. Briefly, the Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 varna was idealized as a leisurely priest class devoted to religious ceremonies, while the Kshatriya
Kshatriya
*For the Bollywood film of the same name see Kshatriya Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas in Hinduism...

 defended them as military princes. The modern concept of the middle class was represented by the Vaishya
Vaishya
Vaishya is one of the four varnas of the Hindu social order. According to Vedic tradition, this caste primarily comprises merchants, farmers, cattle-herders and artisans.-Duties of Vaishyas:...

 varna: artisans, farmers, and merchants, and the lower varna were the Shudra
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

: laborers. Within this basic framework were arranged a huge number of jati
Jati
Jāti is the term used to denote clans, tribes, communities and sub-communities in India. It is a term used across religions. In Indian society each jāti typically has an association with a traditional job function or tribe, although religious beliefs Jāti (in Devanagari: जाति Tamil:சாதி) (the...

s, or subcastes. It should be recognised not as a religious system (as varnashrama dharma prescribed in Hinduism), but a social system, which evolved from varnashrama dharma. After, the end of British occupation
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in 1947, the Constitution of India
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

 introduced various affirmative action plans
Reservation in India
Reservation in India is a form of affirmative action designed to improve the well being of socially backward and underrepresented communities of citizens in India. There are laws in place, wherein a certain percentage of total available slots in Jobs and Education are set aside for people from...

 to abolish the caste system. The people outside of the main varnas were called Untouchables, because they were to not be touched by the "Twice Borns", or the higher three varnas.

Iranian


Under the Qajar dynasty of Iran, the class structure was set up as follows:
  • the permanent hereditary class of Qajar princes
  • an upper class of "nobles and notables"
  • religious leaders and students of theology
  • merchants (note the difference from east Asian models)
  • agricultural landowners
  • master artisans and shopkeepers

As in many official class structures, the laborers who made up the majority of the population but owned no land and relied on wages were not even considered part of the structure at all. http://www.iranian.com/Dec96/Iranica/Qajar/Qajar.html/

Japanese


The Japanese class structure, while influenced by the Chinese, was based on a much more feudal environment. The Emperor
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 was not claimed to be a deity until pre–World War II military government did so but still was unquestionably at the pinnacle of the Japanese class structure (and still is, although no longer officially considered a god). However, for much of Japanese history the emperor was not allowed outside the palace grounds and his will was "interpreted" by a shogun
Shogun
A was one of the hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shoguns, or their shikken regents , were the de facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the emperor...

, or military dictator. Beneath the shogun, daimyo
Daimyo
is a generic term referring to the powerful territorial lords in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings...

s or regional lords, administered the provinces through their samurai
Samurai
is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany a person in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau...

 lieutenants. Perhaps through Chinese influence, and perhaps springing from a lack of arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

, the Japanese class structure also ranked farmers above merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

s and other bourgeois. Classes changed after the Golden Age.

Korean



The Korean ruling class, or Korean power elite, is the relatively small number of Korean people who through similar schools, education, family clans, upbringing, or corporate chaebol wealth and urban power control decision making and policy within either of the partitioned Koreas.

This group is placed within the historical tradition of Confucianism and yangban scholars whose creation can be dated towards the end of the Goryeo dynasty; and that continues through the republican post-1945 and contemporary period; and which is represented by a controlling benevolent stewardship of the politics and economy of Korea by seniors or the older urban-dwelling elements of the population which crosses class, religious, party, and political lines.

Malay



Pre-colonial Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippine social classes includes the Nobility (Maharlika), Freemen (Timawa) and Serf (Alipin).

From the nobility comes the highest "Rajah" (Indianized), "Sultan" (Islamic) or "Hari" (Malay) as the King and highest of the ruling class, "Datu" as chieftains either independent or under the authority of the King and the "Maginoo" or nobles.

Freemen are called "Timawa", which includes "Mandirigma" (Soldiers), "Mangangalakal" (Merchants), and Priests/Priestesses (Babaylan, Umalohokan, Apo or Mumbaki).

Serf or Slaves are called "Alipin", are the bottom rung of the Malay society. They are subjects under either the Nobles or Freemen. Serfs can't pick their own wives or have children under their master's consent.

United Kingdom



The Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 still contains a vestige of the pre-capitalist European class structure. The Queen maintains her status at the top of the social class structure, with the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 up until very recently still representing the hereditary upper class, however due to the Life Peerage the vast majority of Lords in the House of Lords are of common birth and are not classified as Upper Class as they were not born into it, and the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 technically representing everyone else. The House of Commons until the early 20th century represented the industrialist and landed classes. In the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 of the United Kingdom, social class became a national obsession, with nouveau riche
Nouveau riche
The nouveau riche , or new money, comprise those who have acquired considerable wealth within their own generation...

 industrialists in the House of Commons trying to attain the status of House of Lords landowners through culture, marriage, title, and the construction of follies
Folly
In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but either suggesting by its appearance some other purpose, or merely so extravagant that it transcends the normal range of garden ornaments or other class of building to which it belongs...

.

From a sociological point of view the class system in Britain changed substantially during the 'Thatcher Era'. Home ownership (on mortgage) was extended throughout the middle classes and below. With the loss of the majority of traditional working class industrial
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 jobs from the market, a new 'underclass', below working class emerged. The 'underclass', defined as unemployed relying on state benefits, is the new bottom of the British class system.

In Britain people considered of lower social standing can earn high incomes, but an individual's social class is still largely assessed by their parent's mannerisms, education and the status.

Latin American


In colonial Latin America access to positions of power and wealth were delineated by race. Accordingly, Peninsulars (Spaniards born in Spain and Portuguese born in Portugal) held the top ranks- including titles such as Viceroy, Captain General, etc. They were followed by Criollos
Criollo (people)
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

 (Those directly descended from Spaniards but born in America), who held considerable power and class but were barred from the highest decision-making posts. After these there was a system of around a hundred castes. Listed in order of rank, some of these were:
  • Mestizo
    Mestizo
    Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

     (Mixed Amerindian and Spaniard);
  • Mulatto
    Mulatto
    Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

     (Mixed Spaniard and African)
  • Amerindian
    Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

  • Zambo
    Zambo
    Zambo or Cafuzo are racial terms used in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires and occasionally today to identify individuals in the Americas who are of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry...

     (Mixed Amerindian and African)
  • Negro
    Negro
    The word Negro is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance, whether of African descent or not...



It is to be noted that even today there is a strong correlation between class and ethnicity.

United States




The social structure of the United States is a vaguely defined concept which includes several commonly used terms that use educational attainment
Educational attainment in the United States
The educational attainment of the U.S. population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the...

, income
Household income in the United States
Household income is a measure commonly used by the United States government and private institutions, that counts the income of all residents over the age of 18 in each household, including not only all wages and salaries, but such items as unemployment insurance, disability payments, child support...

, wealth, and occupational prestige as the main determinants of class
Social structure of the United States
Social class is a controversial issue in the United States, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its very existence. Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the "rich", the "middle class", and the "poor"...

. While it is possible to create dozens of social classes within the confines of American society, most Americans employ a six or five class system. The most commonly applied class concepts used in regards to contemporary American society are:
  • Upper class
    American upper class
    See: millionaire for more details-Millionaires:See also: MillionairesHouseholds with net worths of $1 million or more may be identified as members of the upper-most socio-economic demographic, depending on the class model used...

    : Those with great influence, wealth and prestige. Members of this group tend to act as the grand-conceptualizers and have tremendous influence of the nation's institutions. This class makes up about 1% of the population and owns about a third of private wealth.
  • Upper middle class: The upper middle class consists of white collar professionals with advanced post-secondary educational degrees and comfortable
    Affluence in the United States
    Affluence in the United States refers to an individual's or household's state of being in an economically favorable position in contrast to a given reference group...

     personal incomes
    Personal income in the United States
    Personal income is an individual’s total earnings from wages, investment interest, and other sources. In the United States the most widely cited personal income statistics are the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s personal income and the Census Bureau’s per capita money income...

    . Upper middle class professionals have large amounts of autonomy in the workplace and therefore enjoy high job satisfaction. In terms of income and considering the 15% figure used by Thompson, Hickey and Gilber, upper middle class professionals earn roughly $62,500 (
    Euro
    The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

    41,000 or £
    Pound sterling
    The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

    31,500) or more and tend to reside in households with six figure incomes.
  • (Lower) middle class: Semi-professionals, non-retail salespeople, and craftsmen who may have some college education. Out-sourcing tends to be a prominent problem among those in this class who often suffer from a lack of job security. Households in this class may need two income earners to make ends meet and therefore may have household incomes rivaling the personal incomes of upper middle class professionals such as attorneys.
  • Working class: According to some experts such as Michael Zweig, this class may constitute the majority of Americans and include those otherwise referred to as lower middle. It includes blue as well as white collar workers who have relatively low personal incomes
    Personal income in the United States
    Personal income is an individual’s total earnings from wages, investment interest, and other sources. In the United States the most widely cited personal income statistics are the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s personal income and the Census Bureau’s per capita money income...

     and lack college degrees with many being among the 45% of Americans who have never attended college.
  • Lower class: This class includes the poor, alienated and marginalized members of society. While most individuals in this class work, it is common for them to drift in and out of poverty.

Current issues


There have been fierce debates in the area of sociology about whether or not social class has become relevant in terms of shaping identity. The arguments suggesting that it is no longer relevant are brought forward by supporters of postmodernism
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

. One argument for class being unimportant follows:

Arguments against relevance of class

  • French sociologist Mattei Dogan
    Mattei Dogan
    Mattei Dogan is a French political sociologist and senior research officer emeritus of the French National Center for Scientific Research and professor emeritus of political science of the University of California, Los Angeles...

     has argued in his "From Social Class and Religious Identity to Status Incongruence in Post-Industrial Societies" (Comparative Sociology, 2004) that the relevance of social class has declined, giving way to a different form of social identification that is largely cultural and religious, and which raises identity conflicts called status incongruence. This can be observed, in particular, in the developing countries, but even in many post-industrial societies
    Post-industrial society
    If a nation becomes "post-industrial" it passes through, or dodges, a phase of society predominated by a manufacturing-based economy and moves on to a structure of society based on the provision of information, innovation, finance, and services.-Characteristics:...

    .

Arguments for relevance of class


Major areas of social science still rely on class based explanations of personal identity, for instance, the history from below
History From Below
History From Below is the follow-up album to 2008's critically acclaimed Ode to Sunshine by San Diego's Delta Spirit. The album was released on June 8, 2010.The band began streaming "White Table" on its website, http://www.deltaspirit.net, on May 6....

 school of Marxist history. Outside of Marxist influenced thought, there is still much evidence suggesting that class affects everyone. Some ideas from different sociologists follow:
  • Jordan suggested that those in poverty had the same attitudes on work and family as those in other classes, this being backed up with surveys expressing that the poor/working class/lower class feel almost shame about their position in society.
  • MacIntosh and Mooney noted that there was still an upper-class which seems to isolate itself from other classes. It is almost impossible to get into the upper-class. They (upper-class) kept their activities (marriage, education, peer groups) as a closed system.
  • Marshall et al. noted that many manual class workers are still aware of many class issues. They believed in a possible conflict of interest, and saw themselves as working class. This counters the postmodern claims that it is consumption which defines an individual.
  • Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard (1998) discovered a new super class, which consisted of elite professionals and managers, which held high salaries and share ownership.
  • Chapman noted there was still an existence of a self-recruiting upper-class identity.
  • Dennis Gilbert argues that class is bound to exist in any complex society as not all occupations are equal and that households do form pattern of interaction that give rise to social classes.

See also


  • Agorist class theory
  • Bohemianism
    Bohemianism
    Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

  • Caste
    Caste
    Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

  • Chattering classes
    Chattering classes
    The chattering classes is a generally derogatory term first coined by Auberon Waugh often used by pundits and political commentators to refer to a politically active, socially concerned and highly educated section of the "metropolitan middle class," especially those with political, media, and...

  • Class conflict
    Class conflict
    Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

  • Class consciousness
    Class consciousness
    Class consciousness is consciousness of one's social class or economic rank in society. From the perspective of Marxist theory, it refers to the self-awareness, or lack thereof, of a particular class; its capacity to act in its own rational interests; or its awareness of the historical tasks...

  • Class in the contemporary United States
  • Classless society
    Classless society
    Classless society refers to a society in which no one is born into a social class. Such distinctions of wealth, income, education, culture, or social network might arise and would only be determined by individual experience and achievement in such a society.Since these distinctions are difficult to...

  • Drift Hypothesis
    Drift Hypothesis
    Drift hypothesis, concerning the relationship between mental illness and social class, is the argument that illness causes one to have a downward shift in social class. The circumstances of one's social class do not cause the onset of a mental disorder, but rather, an individual's deteriorating...

  • Elite theory
    Elite theory
    In political science and sociology, elite theory is a theory of the state which seeks to describe and explain the power relationships in contemporary society. The theory posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks, holds the most power and...

  • Elitism
    Elitism
    Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most...

  • Gilbert Model
    Gilbert Model
    The Gilbert Model was developed by Dennis Gilbert, professor of sociology at Hamilton College, as a means of a more effective way of classifying people in a given society into social classes.-Influences on the Gilbert Model:...

  • Health and Social Class

  • Mass society
    Mass society
    Mass society is a description associated with society in the modern, industrial era. "Guided by the structural-functional approach and drawing on the ideas of Tönnies, Durkheim, and Weber, understands modernity as the emergence of a mass society...

  • Marriage gap
    Marriage gap
    The marriage gap describes observed economic and political disparities between those who are married and those who are single. The marriage gap can be compared to, and should not be confused with, the gender gap.-Politics and marriage:...

  • National Statistics Socio-economic Classification
    National Statistics Socio-economic Classification
    The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification is the primary social classification in the United Kingdom. Its first major use was on the 2001 UK census...

     (NS-SEC)
  • Passing
  • Poverty in the United States
    Poverty in the United States
    Poverty is defined as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday September 13th, 2011, the nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and to its highest level...

  • Ranked society
    Ranked society
    A ranked society in anthropology is one that ranks individuals in terms of their genealogical distance from the chief. Closer relatives of the chief have higher rank or social status than more distant ones. When individuals and groups rank about equally, competition for positions of leadership may...

  • Raznochinets
  • Reverse snobbery
  • Second-class citizen
    Second-class citizen
    Second-class citizen is an informal term used to describe a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there...

  • Snob
    Snob
    A snob is someone who believes that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect, wealth, education, ancestry, taste, beauty, nationality, et cetera. Often, the form of snobbery reflects the snob's personal attributes...

  • Social class in American history
    Social class in American history
    Social class has been an important theme for historians of the United States for over 100 years.-Colonial period:Historians in recent decades have explored in microscopic detail the process of settling the new country and creating the social structure....


  • Social exclusion
    Social exclusion
    Social exclusion is a concept used in many parts of the world to characterise contemporary forms of social disadvantage. Dr. Lynn Todman, director of the Institute on Social Exclusion at the Adler School of Professional Psychology, suggests that social exclusion refers to processes in which...

  • Social mobility
    Social mobility
    Social mobility refers to the movement of people in a population from one social class or economic level to another. It typically refers to vertical mobility -- movement of individuals or groups up from one socio-economic level to another, often by changing jobs or marrying; but can also refer to...

  • Social structure of the United States
    Social structure of the United States
    Social class is a controversial issue in the United States, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its very existence. Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the "rich", the "middle class", and the "poor"...

  • Subculture
    Subculture
    In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

  • Social status
    Social status
    In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

  • Social stratification
    Social stratification
    In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

  • Social position
    Social position
    Social position is the position of an individual in a given society and culture. A given position may belong to many individuals. Social position influences social status...

  • U and non-U English
    U and non-U English
    U and non-U English usage, with U standing for upper class, and non-U representing the aspiring middle classes, were part of the terminology of popular discourse of social dialects in 1950s Britain and New England. The debate did not concern itself with the speech of the working classes, which in...

  • Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life
    Unequal childhoods
    Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life is a 2003 non-fiction book by American author Annette Lareau based upon a study of 88 families to understand the impact of how social class makes a difference in family life, more specifically in children's lives...

    (book)


Further reading

  • Archer, Louise et al. Higher Education and Social Class: Issues of Exclusion and Inclusion (RoutledgeFalmer, 2003) (ISBN 0-4152-7644-6)
  • Aronowitz, Stanley
    Stanley Aronowitz
    Stanley Aronowitz is professor of sociology, cultural studies, and urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is also a veteran political activist and cultural critic and an advocate for organized labor.-Social Text:...

    , How Class Works: Power and Social Movement, Yale University Press, 2003. ISBN 0300105045
  • Beckert, Sven, and Julia B. Rosenbaum, eds. The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave Macmillan; 2011) 284 pages; Scholarly studies on the habits, manners, networks, institutions, and public roles of the American middle class with a focus on cities in the North.
  • Bertaux, Daniel & Thomson, Paul; Pathways to Social Class: A Qualitative Approach to Social Mobility (Clarendon Press, 1997)
  • Bisson, Thomas N.; Cultures of Power: Lordship, Status, and Process in Twelfth-Century Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995)
  • Blau, Peter & Duncan Otis D.; The American Occupational Structure (1967) classic study of structure and mobility
  • Brady, David "Rethinking the Sociological Measurement of Poverty" Social Forces
    Social Forces
    Social Forces is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal of social science published by the University of North Carolina Press...

    Vol. 81 No.3, (March 2003), pp. 715–751 (abstract online in Project Muse).
  • Broom, Leonard & Jones, F. Lancaster; Opportunity and Attainment in Australia (1977)
  • Cohen, Lizabeth; Consumer's Republic, (Knopf, 2003) (ISBN 0-375-40750-2). (Historical analysis of the working out of class in the United States).
  • Croix, Geoffrey de Ste.; "Class in Marx's Conception of History, Ancient and Modern", New Left Review
    New Left Review
    New Left Review is a 160-page journal, published every two months from London, devoted to world politics, economy and culture. Often compared to the French-language Les Temps modernes, it is associated with Verso Books , and regularly features the essays of authorities on contemporary social...

    , No. 146, (1984), pp. 94–111 (good study of Marx's concept).
  • Dargin, Justin The Birth of Russia's Energy Class, Asia Times
    Asia Times
    Asia Times was a newspaper launched in Thailand by Thai tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul in 1995. The newspaper hired talent from around the world to produce a regional English-language newspaper....

     (2007) (good study of contemporary class formation in Russia, post communism)
  • Day, Gary; Class, (Routledge, 2001) (ISBN 0-415-18222-0)
  • Domhoff, G. William
    G. William Domhoff
    George William Domhoff is a research professor in psychology and sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz...

    , Who Rules America? Power, Politics, and Social Change, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1967. (Prof. Domhoff's companion site to the book at the University of California, Santa Cruz
    University of California, Santa Cruz
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, also known as UC Santa Cruz or UCSC, is a public, collegiate university; one of ten campuses in the University of California...

    )
  • Eichar, Douglas M.; Occupation and Class Consciousness in America (Greenwood Press, 1989)
  • Fantasia, Rick; Levine, Rhonda F.; McNall, Scott G., eds.; Bringing Class Back in Contemporary and Historical Perspectives (Westview Press, 1991)
  • Featherman, David L. & Hauser Robert M.; Opportunity and Change (1978).
  • Fotopoulos, Takis
    Takis Fotopoulos
    Takis Fotopoulos , born , is a political philosopher and economist who founded the inclusive democracy movement. He is noted for his synthesis of the classical democracy with the libertarian socialism and the radical currents in the new social movements...

    , Class Divisions Today: The Inclusive Democracy approach, Democracy & Nature
    Democracy & Nature
    Democracy & Nature was a theoretical journal founded in 1992 by Takis Fotopoulos. Initially launched as Society and Nature, it was renamed Democracy & Nature in 1995. Four volumes of three issues each were released by Aigis Publications in the period from 1992 to 1999. From 1999 to 2003, five...

    , Vol. 6, No. 2, (July 2000)
  • Fussell, Paul
    Paul Fussell
    Paul Fussell is an American cultural and literary historian, author and university professor. His writings cover a variety of genres, from scholarly works on eighteenth-century English literature to commentary on America’s class system...

    ; Class (a painfully accurate guide through the American status system), (1983) (ISBN 0-345-31816-1)
  • Giddens, Anthony
    Anthony Giddens
    Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens is a British sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be one of the most prominent modern contributors in the field of sociology, the author of at least 34 books, published in at least 29...

    ; The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies, (London: Hutchinson, 1981).
  • Giddens, Anthony
    Anthony Giddens
    Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens is a British sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be one of the most prominent modern contributors in the field of sociology, the author of at least 34 books, published in at least 29...

     & Mackenzie, Gavin (Eds.), Social Class and the Division of Labour. Essays in Honour of Ilya Neustadt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).
  • Goldthorpe, John H. & Erikson Robert; The Constant Flux: A Study of Class Mobility in Industrial Society (1992)
  • Grusky, David B. ed.; Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective (2001) scholarly articles
  • Hazelrigg, Lawrence E. & Lopreato, Joseph; Class, Conflict, and Mobility: Theories and Studies of Class Structure (1972).
  • Hymowitz, Kay; Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age (2006) ISBN 1566637090
  • Kaeble, Helmut; Social Mobility in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Europe and America in Comparative Perspective (1985)
  • Jens Hoff, "The Concept of Class and Public Employees". Acta Sociologica, vol. 28, no. 3, July 1985, pp. 207–226.
  • Mahalingam, Ramaswami; "Essentialism, Culture, and Power: Representations of Social Class" Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 59, (2003), pp. 733+ on India
  • Mahony, Pat & Zmroczek, Christine; Class Matters: 'Working-Class' Women's Perspectives on Social Class (Taylor & Francis, 1997)
  • Manza, Jeff & Brooks, Clem; Social Cleavages and Political Change: Voter Alignments and U.S. Party Coalitions (Oxford University Press, 1999).
  • Manza, Jeff; "Political Sociological Models of the U.S. New Deal" Annual Review of Sociology, (2000) pp. 297+
  • Manza, Jeff; Hout, Michael & Brooks Clem; "Class Voting in Capitalist Democracies since World War II: Dealignment, Realignment, or Trendless Fluctuation?" Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 21, (1995)
  • Marmot, Michael; The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity (2004)
  • Marx, Karl & Engels, Frederick; The Communist Manifesto, (1848). (The key statement of class conflict as the driver of historical change).
  • Merriman, John M.; Consciousness and Class Experience in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1979)
  • Ostrander, Susan A.; Women of the Upper Class (Temple University Press, 1984).
  • Owensby, Brian P.; Intimate Ironies: Modernity and the Making of Middle-Class Lives in Brazil (Stanford University, 1999).
  • Pakulski, Jan & Waters, Malcolm; The Death of Class (Sage, 1996). (rejection of the relevance of class for modern societies)
  • Payne, Geoff; The Social Mobility of Women: Beyond Male Mobility Models (1990)
  • Raico, Ralph
    Ralph Raico
    Ralph Raico is an American historian, libertarian, and specialist in European classical liberalism and Austrian Economics. He is currently a professor of history at Buffalo State College and a senior faculty member at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Raico was a student of Ludwig von Mises and...

    ; "Classical Liberal Exploitation Theory: A Comment on Professor Liggio's Paper", Journal of Libertarian Studies
    Journal of Libertarian Studies
    The Journal of Libertarian Studies is a scholarly journal published annually by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell. It was established in the spring of 1977 by Murray Rothbard who also served as its editor until his death in 1995...

    , Vol.1, No.3, pp. 179–183, (1977).
  • Savage, Mike; Class Analysis and Social Transformation (London: Open University Press, 2000).
  • Sennett, Richard & Cobb, Jonathan; The Hidden Injuries of Class, (Vintage, 1972) (classic study of the subjective experience of class).
  • Siegelbaum, Lewis H. & Suny, Ronald; eds.; Making Workers Soviet: Power, Class, and Identity. (Cornell University Press, 1994). Russia 1870-1940
  • Sorokin, Pitrim; Social Mobility (New York, 1927)
  • Warner, W. Lloyd et al. Social Class in America: A Manual of Procedure for the Measurement of Social Status (1949).
  • Wlkowitz, Daniel J.; Working with Class: Social Workers and the Politics of Middle-Class Identity (University of North Carolina Press, 1999).
  • Weber, Max. "Class, Status and Party", in e.g. Gerth, Hans and C. Wright Mills, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, (Oxford University Press, 1958). (Weber's key statement of the multiple nature of stratification).
  • Weinburg, Mark; "The Social Analysis of Three Early 19th century French liberals: Say, Comte, and Dunoyer", Journal of Libertarian Studies
    Journal of Libertarian Studies
    The Journal of Libertarian Studies is a scholarly journal published annually by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell. It was established in the spring of 1977 by Murray Rothbard who also served as its editor until his death in 1995...

    , Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 45–63, (1978).
  • Wood, Ellen Meiksins
    Ellen Meiksins Wood
    -Biography:Wood was born Ellen Meiksins one year after her parents, Latvian Jews active in the Bund, arrived in New York from Europe as political refugees. She was raised in the United States and Europe.Wood received a B.A...

    ; The Retreat from Class: A New 'True' Socialism, (Schocken Books, 1986) (ISBN 0-8052-7280-1) and (Verso Classics, January 1999) reprint with new introduction (ISBN 1-8598-4270-4).
  • Wood, Ellen Meiksins
    Ellen Meiksins Wood
    -Biography:Wood was born Ellen Meiksins one year after her parents, Latvian Jews active in the Bund, arrived in New York from Europe as political refugees. She was raised in the United States and Europe.Wood received a B.A...

    ; "Labor, the State, and Class Struggle", Monthly Review
    Monthly Review
    Monthly Review is an independent Marxist journal published 11 times per year in New York City.-History:The publication was founded by Harvard University economics instructor Paul Sweezy, who became the first editor...

    , Vol. 49, No. 3, (1997).
  • Wouters, Cas.; "The Integration of Social Classes." Journal of Social History. Volume 29, Issue 1, (1995). pp 107+. (on social manners)
  • Wright, Erik Olin; The Debate on Classes (Verso, 1990). (neo-Marxist)
  • Wright, Erik Olin; Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
  • Wright, Erik Olin ed. Approaches to Class Analysis (2005). (scholarly articles)
  • Zmroczek, Christine & Mahony, Pat (Eds.), Women and Social Class: International Feminist Perspectives. (London: UCL Press 1999)

External links


Sources


Jon Elster, An Introduction to Karl Marx. Cambridge, England, 1986.

Michael Evans, Karl Marx. London, 1975.