Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis

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Overview

Class Counts combines theoretical discus sions of the concept of class with a wide range of comparative empirical investigations of class and its ramifications in developed capitalist societies. What unites the topics is not a preoccupation with a common object of explanation, but rather a common explanatory factor: class. Four broad themes are explored: class structure and its transformations; the permeability of class boundaries; class and gender; and class consciousness. The specific empirical studies include such diverse topics as the sexual division of labor in housework, gender differences in managerial authority, friendship networks in the class structure, the expansion of self-employment in the United States in the past two decades, and the class consciousness of state and private sector employees. The results of these studies are then evaluated in terms of how they confirm certain expectations within the Marxist tradition of class analysis and how they pose challenging surprises.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book reports on the single most important sociological research project of the last decade....It offers interesting empirical evidence, analyzed competently and making those data speak to the most abstract theoretical issues. It is a great way to introduce students in sociology to the way to use empirical research to examine the great traditions of sociology and at the same time address vital contemporary issues. Scholars working on social stratification, mobility, inequalities, gender, race will take this work as their point of departure for the next decade." Professor Ivan Szelenyi, University of California, Los Angeles

"In this important and innovative study, Erik Olin Wright presents a challenging theoretical and empirical cross-national analysis of class relations and class consciousness. In a systematic and rigorous fashion, Wright explores the social dynamics of class position, class formation, class mobility, and class consciousness and relates them to the world of work, gender relations, race, family and friendship patterns. This study will be a key reference point in future discussion of competing approaches to class analysis and the place of class in contemporary societies." Professor Bob Jessop, Lancaster University

"In recent years it has become fashionable to question the usefulness of class analysis. Class Counts is Erik Wright's clear and convincing answer to the skeptics. Wright shows how class analysis makes sense of the inequalities that divide postindustrial society." Professor Michael Hout, University of California, Berkeley

"By any standard, this book represents a considerable achievement. There can be no doubt that it will become a standard text for researchers and teachers alike." Ira Katznelson, Contemporary Sociology

"A review cannot do justice to the depth and variety of material covered....Class Counts demonstrates once again that Wright is a versatile and imaginative analyst of data. One learns a lot about making sensible research decisions by reading the methodological appendices attached to twelve of the chapters in this book. Wright also shows impressive intellectual honesty." Tom Mayer, American Political Science Review

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface to student edition
Preface to original edition
Acknowledgments
1 Class analysis 1
Pt. I Structural analyses of classes 41
2 Class structure 43
3 The transformation of the American class structure, 1960-1990 56
4 The fall and rise of the American petty bourgeoisie 67
5 The permeability of class boundaries 79
Pt. II Class and gender 113
6 Conceptualizing the interaction of class and gender 115
7 Individuals, families and class analysis 125
8 The noneffects of class on the gendered division of labor in the home 146
9 The gender gap in workplace authority 159
Pt. III Class structure and class consciousness 183
10 A general framework for studying class consciousness and class formation 185
11 Class consciousness and class formation in Sweden, the United States and Japan 216
Pt. IV Conclusion 249
12 Confirmations, surprises and theoretical reconstructions 251
References 277
Index 282
Index of subjects 284
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