Institut for Statskundskab

Understanding Class in Contemporary Societies

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  • Gitte Sommer Harrits, Danmark
  • Institut for Statskundskab

In this paper, I argue that claims about the death of class and the coming of the classless society are premature. Such claims are seldom genuinely empirical, and the theoretical argument often refers to a simple and therefore easily dismissible concept of class. By rejecting the concept of class altogether, sociological theory runs the risk of loosing the capacity for analysing stratification and vertical differentiation of power and freedom, which in late modernity seem to be a of continuing importance. Hence, I argue that although class analysis faces a number of serious challenges, it is possible to reinvent class analysis. The sociology of Pierre Bourdieu in many ways introduces an appropriate paradigm, and the paper therefore critically discusses Bourdieu's concept of class. Since the "Bourdieuan" class concept is primarily epistemological, i.e. a research strategy more than a theory, empirical examples from a recent study of class and politics in Denmark will be provided. Here emphasis will be placed upon the ways in which the Bourdieuan class concept can help overcome some of the problems of previous class concepts.

TitelIkke angivet
Antal sider24
ForlagDepartment of Political Science, University of Aarhus
StatusUdgivet - 2007
BegivenhedESA Conference 8 - Glasgow, Storbritannien
Varighed: 3 sep. 20076 sep. 2007


KonferenceESA Conference 8

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