Sociology consists of a myriad of frequently confusing concepts. Key Concepts in Sociology provides a comprehensive, lively and clearly-written guide to the most important concepts in the subject. It includes both what might be regarded as ‘classic’ sociological concepts, such as ‘class’, ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘community’, as well as subjects that have become increasingly prominent in recent times, such as ‘celebrity’, ‘risk’ and ‘the body’.

Each of the thirty-eight substantive entries: Defines the concept; provides a clear and compelling narrative; clarifies the main debates, perspectives and disagreements; gives advice on further reading

Key Concepts in Sociology should be the first choice for sociology students at all levels of learning.

Class

Class
Class

In Pygmalion (2003 (1912)), George Bernard Shaw said this about class distinction:

It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him.

Ideas of class distinction and the niceties of class, such as those that infuse Jane Austen's novels, have proven remarkably persistent in social interaction, and a sense of social ordering involving privilege and deference has been at the heart of British debates about the class system (Clarke, 2005: 39). Sociologists have, of course, been interested in the attitudes and beliefs held by different groups about each other. But the sociological understanding of class goes deeper and wider than this.

According to Williams (1976: 61), the arrival of the word class (which he places between 1770 and 1840, the period ...

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