‘The history of all hitherto existing society’, as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in their Manifesto of the Communist Party of 1848, ‘is the history of class struggles’ (1965: 39). This is a useful starting point for [Page 209]discussing the concept of social class, for three reasons. First, for many of the sociologists and historians who have analysed sport, class is a given – a central and crucial fact of life in all but the earliest human societies. Class, that's to say, could not be escaped or dismissed as a matter of, say, snobbery or the ‘politics of envy’; it was there, as a decisive factor – for Marx, the decisive factor – in history and in the lives of individuals. Second, ...