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Few concepts are more contested in sociological theory than the concept of “class.” In contemporary sociology, there are scholars who assert that class is ceasing to be useful (Pahl 1989) or even more stridently proclaim the death of class. Yet at the same time, there are also sociologists who write books with titles such as Bringing Class Back In (McNall, Levine, and Fantasia 1991), Reworking Class (Hall 1997), Repositioning Class (Marshall 1997), and Class Counts (Wright 1997). In some theoretical traditions in sociology, most notably Marxism, class figures at the very core of the theoretical structure; in others, especially the tradition identified with Durkheim, only pale shadows of class appear.

In what follows, there is first an examination, in broad strokes, the different ways in which ...

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