Leading sociologist examines how different readings of class enrich our understanding of capitalism
Few ideas are more contested today than “class.” Some have declared its death, while others insist on its centrality to contemporary capitalism. It is said its relevance is limited to explaining individuals’ economic conditions and opportunities, while at the same time argued that it is a structural feature of macro-power relations. In Understanding Class, leading left sociologist Erik Olin Wright interrogates the divergent meanings of this fundamental concept in order to develop a more integrated framework of class analysis. Beginning with the treatment of class in Marx and Weber, proceeding through the writings of Charles Tilly, Thomas Piketty, Guy Standing, and others, and finally examining how class struggle and class compromise play out in contemporary society, Understanding Class provides a compelling view of how to think about the complexity of class in the world today.