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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Class society or class-based society is an organizing principle society in which ownership of property, means of production, and wealth is the determining factor of the distribution of power, in which those with more property and wealth are stratified higher in the society and those without access to the means of production and without wealth are stratified lower in the society. In a class society, at least implicitly, people are divided into distinct social strata, commonly referred to as social classes or castes. The nature of class society is a matter of sociological research.[1][2][3] Class societies exist all over the globe in both industrialized and developing nations.[4] Class stratification is theorized to come directly from capitalism.[5] In terms of public opinion, nine out of ten people in a Swedish survey considered it correct that they are living in a class society.[6]

Class society in Weberian sociology

In Weberian sociology, the relationship a person holds to the purchaser of their labour is what primarily establishes the person's position in class society.

Class society in Marxist sociology

In Marxist sociology, the relationship of the actor to the means of production roughly establishes the position of the social actor in relation to class society. The class society itself is understood as the aggregated phenomenon to the "interlinked movement", which generates the quasi-objective concept of capital.[7]

Class society in the sociology of Bourdieu

For Bourdieu, the place in the social strata for any person is vaguer than the equivalent in Weberian sociology. Bourdieu introduced an array of concepts of what he refers to as types of capital. These types were economic capital, so how much universal equivalent (commonly referred to as fiat money) to other commodities, which a social actor holds, as well as tangible private property. This type of capital is separated from the other types of culturally constituted types of capital, which Bourdieu introduces, which are: personal cultural capital (formal education, knowledge); objective cultural capital (books, art); and institutionalized cultural capital (honours and titles).

Comparative sociological research

One may use comparative methods to study class societies, using, for example, comparison of Gini coefficients, de facto educational opportunities, unemployment, and culture.[8][9]

Effect on the population

Societies with large class differences have a greater proportion of people who suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression symptoms.[10][11][12] A series of scientific studies have demonstrated this relationship.[13] Statistics support this assertion and results are found in life expectancy and overall health; for example, in the case of high differences in life expectancy between two Stockholm suburbs. The differences between life expectancy of the poor and less-well-educated inhabitants who live in proximity to the station Vårby gård, and the highly educated and more affluent inhabitants living near Danderyd differ by 18 years.[14][15]

Similar data about New York is also available for life expectancy, average income per capita, income distribution, median income mobility for people who grew up poor, share with a bachelor's degree or higher. [16]

In class societies, the lower classes systematically receive lower-quality education and care.[17][18][19] There are more explicit effects where those within the higher class actively demonize parts of the lower-class population.[20]

Historical context

In class societies, class conflict has tended to recur or is ongoing, depending on the sociological and anthropolitical perspective.[21][22]

Class societies have not always existed; there have been widely different types of class communities.[23][24][25] For example, societies based on age rather than capital.[26] During colonialism, social relations were dismantled by force, which gave rise to societies based on the social categories of waged labor, private property, and capital.[27][28]

See also


  • Ojämlikhetens dimensioner - Marie Evertsson & Charlotta Magnusson (red.) (In Swedish) ISBN 9789147111299
  • Om konsten att lyfta sig själv i håret och behålla barnet i badvattnet : kritiska synpunkter på samhällsvetenskapens vetenskapsteori - Israel, Joachim (In Swedish) ISBN 91-29-43746-6
  • The inner level : how more equal societies reduce stress, restore sanity and improve everyone's well-being - Richard G Wilkinson; Kate Pickett ISBN 9780141975399
  • Klassamhällets förändring - Göran Ahrne, Hedvig Ekerwald, Håkan Leiulfsrud (In Swedish)[29]


  1. ^ Drobnic, S.; Guillén, A. (2011). Work-Life Balance in Europe: The Role of Job Quality. Springer. p. 208. ISBN 9780230307582.
  2. ^ "Essays on Social Reproduction and Lifelong Learning". Skolporten. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  3. ^ Bihagen, Erik; Nermo, Magnus; Stern, Charlotta (October 2013). "Class Origin and Elite Position of Men in Business Firms in Sweden, 1993–2007: The Importance of Education, Cognitive Ability, and Personality". European Sociological Review. 29 (5): 939–954. doi:10.1093/esr/jcs070.
  4. ^ "Global Stratification and Inequality | Introduction to Sociology". Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  5. ^ Lane, David (2005-12-01). "Social class as a factor in the transformation of state socialism". Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics. 21 (4): 417–435. doi:10.1080/13523270500363361. ISSN 1352-3279. S2CID 154779478.
  6. ^ "Klassamhället åter anser 9 av 10" (in Swedish). 2004-04-26. ISSN 1101-2412.
  7. ^ /Moishe%20Postone%20-%20Time,%20Labor,%20and%20Social%20Domination.pdf
  8. ^
  9. ^ Jones, Owen Peter (2011). Chavs : the demonization of the working class : with new preface ([New] ed.). ISBN 978-1-78168-398-9. OCLC 1105199910.
  10. ^ Wilkinson, Richard G; Pickett, Kate (2019). The inner level : how more equal societies reduce stress, restore sanity and improve everyone's well-being. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-197539-9. OCLC 1091644373.
  11. ^ Salmi, Peter (2017-12-13). "Kraftig ökning av psykisk ohälsa bland barn och unga vuxna". Socialstyrelsen (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2018-02-21.
  12. ^ Mathisen, Daniel (2018-06-08). "Inte konstigt att klassamhället får oss att må dåligt" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  13. ^ Aneshensel, Carol S; Phelan, Jo C (1999). Handbook of the sociology of mental health. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-387-36223-6. OCLC 552063104.
  14. ^ "Var du bor avgör när du dör" (in Swedish). 2014-05-12.
  15. ^ "Mera om massiva och dödliga klasskillnader" (in Swedish). 2019-06-29. ISSN 1101-2412.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Closing the gap in a generation : health equity through action on the social determinants of health : Commission on Social Determinants of Health final report. World Health Organization, Commission on Social Determinants of Health. 2008. ISBN 978-92-4-156370-3. OCLC 248038286.
  19. ^ "Fattiga klarar cancer sämst" (in Swedish). 2008-09-08. ISSN 1101-2412.
  20. ^ Jones, Owen Peter (2011). Chavs : the demonization of the working class : with new preface ([New] ed.). ISBN 978-1-78168-398-9. OCLC 1105199910.
  21. ^ The concise encyclopedia of sociology. Wiley-Blackwell. 2011. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-4443-9263-0. OCLC 701327736.
  22. ^ Weapons of the weak : everyday forms of peasant resistance. ISBN 978-0-585-36330-1. OCLC 317459153.
  24. ^ Ancient society. Transaction Publishers. 2000. ISBN 0-7658-0691-6. OCLC 44516641.
  25. ^ Encyclopedia of Western colonialism since 1450. Macmillan Reference USA. 2007. pp. 620, 849, 921, 64. ISBN 978-0-02-866085-1. OCLC 74840473.
  26. ^ Age class systems : social institutions and polities based on age. Cambridge University Press. 1985. ISBN 0-521-30747-3. OCLC 11621536.
  27. ^ Age class systems : social institutions and polities based on age. Cambridge University Press. 1985. ISBN 0-521-30747-3. OCLC 11621536.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-29. Retrieved 2020-05-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
This page was last edited on 9 October 2020, at 17:10
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