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Understanding Class

NASP International and Interdisciplinary Seminars
15 June 2017, h. 14.30

Speaker: Erik Olin Wright (University of Wisconsin)

Room A
NASP GSSPS
Via Pace 10, Milan

Abstract
This talk proposes a new way of integrating Marxist, Weberian, and Durkheimian approaches to structural class analysis into a more unified framework. All three of these strands of theory and research attempt to identify central lines of cleavage within economic systems that define people with common economic interests in potential conflict with others; but they differ in how they specify the causal mechanisms that generate such commonality and conflict of interests. A comprehensive structural class analysis should incorporate all three kinds of mechanisms; the question is how best to understand their interconnection. One way of sorting this out is through the metaphor of society as a game. Conflicts of interests can be specified over what game to play, over the rules of a given game, or over the moves within a given set of rules. Marxist approaches identify classes with the first of these, Weberian with the second, and Durkheimian with the third.




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