Class Counts

Class Counts

Class Counts

Class Counts

Synopsis

This textbook provides a lively and penetrating exploration of the concept of class and its relevance for understanding a wide range of issues in contemporary society. The book presents a sophisticated account of the theoretical foundations in an accessible and engaging manner. It then explores class using cross-national comparative data on topics such as social mobility, housework, friendship patterns, class structure and class consciousness. This Student Edition of Class Counts thus combines Wright's sophisticated account of central and enduring questions in social theory with practical analyses of detailed social problems.

Excerpt

The original edition of Class Counts, published in 1997, was intended as a research study oriented to technically sophisticated social scientists. The central ideas of the book, however, were potentially of interest to a much wider audience. The central objective of this abridged edition of Class Counts is thus to make the book more accessible and useful for students without advanced statistical training and without a specialist's interests in the details of the research literature and methodologies on each of the topics. To accomplish this, I have tried to follow four guiding principles in deciding what to cut, what to leave in and what to rewrite. First, I wanted none of the cuts to undermine the clarity and interest of the theoretical ideas and substantive arguments in the original book. As a result I have eliminated relatively little from the more theoretical sections of the book. Second, I wanted to eliminate virtually all technical statistical and methodological material. I have replaced this with simpler, graphical representations of results wherever possible. Where the technical details are important for specific arguments and analysis, I have included footnotes directing the reader to the pages in the original edition of Class Counts where the technical material can be found. Third, I have tried to eliminate most of the digressions and peripheral plots in the story. In many of the original empirical chapters I included extended discussions of empirical issues that were outside the main thrust of analysis. These I have mostly removed. I have also eliminated most of the footnotes which explored secondary themes and implications. Finally, I have eliminated most citations to the research literature on specific topics except in places where a discussion of a specific piece of work is needed to develop an idea or argument. One of the hallmarks of scholarly sociological research is the inclusion of long lists of citations for specific points being made. Often these serve mainly a ritualistic . . .

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