Class, subjectivity and parochialism: A reflection and an introduction

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The article introduces a special issue on comprehending class. It does so by situating five articles - one on each of Brazil, India, China and two on South Africa - within the context of a reflection on key sociological texts published over the past ten years, specifically in the USA and the UK. The debate between the 'occupation-aggregate' approach and 'culturalist class analysis' is reviewed. An argument is made for distinguishing between class and subjectivity, using this as the basis for drawing together research from competing paradigms and for developing a new research agenda. Within this it is possible to situate new research on identity, which begins to analyse ambivalent identities and the way in which working-class and middle-class identities may be constituted differently, the former related more to economic concerns, the latter more to culture. Critically, the literature is taken to task for its parochialism, and a case is made for an internationalist approach to the sociology of class. This argument is underlined by a summary of the articles that follow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalSouth African Review of Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Class
  • Culture
  • Identity
  • Occupation aggregate
  • Subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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