Approaches to Class Analysis by Erik Olin Wright

By Erik Olin Wright

Sociologists disagree not just on how top to outline "class" but in addition as to its basic function in social concept and persisted relevance to sociological research. This booklet explores the theoretical foundations of six significant views of sophistication throughout the contributions of specialists within the box. whereas a few think that sessions have principally dissolved, others think classification continues to be one of many basic different types of social inequality and social strength. additionally, a few see category as a slim financial phenomenon, whereas others undertake an expansive belief.

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I think not. There are a number of reasons that elaborating the concept of class in terms of exploitation and domination has theoretical pay-offs beyond the specific normative agenda of Marxist class analysis itself: 1. Linking exchange and production. The Marxist logic of class analysis affirms the intimate link between the way in which social relations are organized within exchange and within production. This is a substantive, not definitional, point: the social relations which organize the rights and powers of individuals with respect to productive resources systematically shape their location both within exchange relations and within the process of production itself.

Class relations, class locations, and class structure), understood in the above way, has systematic and significant consequences both for the lives of individuals and for the dynamics of institutions. One might say “class counts” as a slogan. At the micro-level, whether or not one sells one’s labor power on a labor market, whether or not one has the power to tell other people what to do in the labor process, whether or not one owns large amounts of capital, whether or not one possesses a legally certified valuable credential, etc.

In this chapter I will discuss some of the issues involved in seeking to pursue class analysis within a broadly Weberian perspective. I begin by outlining Weber’s own views on social class, as these are presented in Economy and Society. This serves to set out the broad parameters within which Weberian class analysis operates and to suggest the extent and limits of its explanatory ambitions. I go on to discuss, in very general terms, what sort of operationalization of class is suggested by the work of Weber and then to outline the Goldthorpe class schema, which is widely held to be Weberian in conception (for example, Marshall et al.

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