Agrarian Socialism: The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan, a Study in Political Sociology

By S. M. Lipset | Go to book overview
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Chapter III
THE EMERGENCE OF AGRARIAN CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS

ECONOMIC and political class consciousness obviously does not emerge as a simple reaction to the position of a group in the economic and social structure. The transformation of a group from a large mass of individuals, who do not recognize the existence of a basic, common class interest, to a self-conscious class occurs through the intervening factor of organized group action. Max Weber has well described the conditions that give rise to this development.

. . . the factor that creates "class" is unambiguously economic interest, and indeed only those interests involved in the existence of the "market". . . .

The degree in which "communal action" and possibly "societal action," emerges from the "mass actions" of the members of a class is linked to . . . the extent of the [economic] contrasts that have already evolved, and is especially linked to the transparency of the connections between the causes and the consequences of the "class situation." For however different [economic] life chances may be, this fact in itself . . . by no means gives birth to "class action". . . . The fact of being conditioned must be distinctly recognizable. For only then the contrasts of life chances can be felt . . . as a resultant from either (1) the given

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