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The Breakdown of Class Politics

, 352 pages
May 2001



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The Breakdown of Class Politics

A Debate on Post-Industrial Stratification

Class and its linkage to politics became a controversial and exciting topic again in the 1990s. Terry Clark and Seymour Martin Lipset published "Are Social Classes Dying?" in 1991, which sparked a lively debate and much new research. The main critics of Clark and Lipset—at Oxford and Berkeley—held (initially) that class was more persistent than Clark and Lipset suggested. The positions were sharply opposed and involved several conceptual and methodological concerns. But the issues grew more nuanced as further reflections and evidence accumulated.

This book draws on four main conferences organized by the editors. Sharply contrasting views are forcefully argued with rich and subtle evidence. The volume includes a broad overview and synthesis; major reports by leading participants; and original theoretical and empirical contributions.

Terry Nichols Clark is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He has written and edited some 25 books including The New Political Culture and City Money. He is President of Research Committee 03 of the International Sociological Association, which launched the Fiscal Austerity and Urban Innovation (FAUI) Project in 1982, including original surveys of over 7,000 cities in 20 countries analyzed in this volume. He has taught at Columbia, Harvard, Yale, the Sorbonne, UCLA, and the University of Florence. Seymour Martin Lipset is Hazel Professor Public Policy, George Mason University. His books include Political Man; Class, Status, and Party; Agrarian Socialism; The First New Nation; Revolution and Counterrevolution; and American Exceptionalism. He has served as editor of Public Opinion magazine. He founded and served as President of the International Sociological Association's Research Committee on Political Sociology, which encouraged several international comparisons of social stratification and its political consequences. He has taught at Columbia, University of California-Berkeley, Harvard, and Stanford.

"A useful introduction... The challenges to class analysis and political sociology posed in this volume and elsewhere will continue to shape the development of both fields."

"There can be no question that the theme is enormously important. Having first-rate empirical material dedicated to a debate about the relevance of social class to politics of the century soon upon us will stimulate wide debate and will frame many graduate and undergraduate courses around the country, if not the globe. And these are the ideal contributors to take on this task."

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