This concise and accessible textbook overviews the place and continuing centrality of the concept of class in cultural studies and sociology. The book reopens the debates over class and culture that were very nearly closed down in postmodernism. Andrew Milner offers readers a critical introduction to the Marxist and Weberian accounts of class and relates the significance of class in the new social movements. He also looks at class politics and trends in the character of class relations.

Sociological Theories of Class

Sociological theories of class

Like Marxism, sociology has often been preoccupied with social class. For if sociology can be said to have any one ‘core’ subject matter, then it is the study of structured social inequality. Social inequality is by no means necessarily synonymous with class: the early Italian ‘elite’ theorists sought to explain it through the dynamics of interaction between ‘elites’ and ‘masses’(Mosca, 1939, pp. 51–53; Pareto, 1976, pp. 247–250); American ‘structural functionalist’ sociologists theorized ‘social stratification’ as the distribution of unequal statuses according to the functional requirements of the social system as a whole (Davis and Moore, 1945; Parsons, 1954); more recently, feminist sociologists have tended to argue that the relations of patriarchal dominance between men and women are at ...

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