Classes by Erik Olin Wright

By Erik Olin Wright

'The so much awesome publication on classification i've got learn in a few years.' Michael Mann, modern Sociology
In this seminal second look of social type, Eric Olin Wright supplies a whole reformulation of the Marxist proposal, bridging the distance among summary structural money owed of sophistication and outlines of specific classification configurations.

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Various kinds of managers could then be specified, depending upon the specific combinations of these three criteria. On further reflection, however, this extension of the initial criteria still did not go far enough. Clearly, with respect to each of the 'resources' in the three dimensions of control—money, physical means of production, labour—it was not true that a position either did or did not involve control. Because different positions were structured into a complex hierarchy of domination relations, they also involved different 'amounts' of control.

In the first presentations of the research we referred to such managerial positions as having an 'ambiguous' class character, neither fish nor fowl. In a seminar discussion of the conceptual framework, the suggestion was made that this was not quite precise: such positions were really both fish and fowl, and therefore they should be seen as internally contradictory rather than ambiguous. 30 That shift in labels—from ambiguous locations to contradictory locations—was the crucial step in the development of the new concept.

Furthermore, even if we were to grant that unproductive employees were outside of the working class, their ascription to the petty bourgeoisie violates the sixth criterion of the general concept of class. By no stretch of the concept of social relations of production, can an unproductive employee in a bank and a self-employed baker be seen as occupying the same position within the social relations of production. The concept of the new petty bourgeoisie is therefore unsatisfactory because it both employs a criterion for a class boundary which does not easily conform to the requirements of the first constraint, and because the positions defined by this criterion share none of the salient relational properties of the petty bourgeoisie, thus violating the sixth constraint.

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