The Political Ideology of the Middle Class: An Empirical Examination
Understanding the location of a social stratum in the class structure is a necessary part of understanding the relationship among social reality, ideology, and political behavior. Regarding the middle class, the debate over the relationship is extensive: Are new middle-class knowledge controllers reform-oriented, concerned about the welfare of those less fortunate than them? Or are they passively indifferent to the social problems of the day, preferring instead to fill their time and their minds with the latest luxuries of middle-class life?
Figure 4.1 identifies the basic nature of the contrasting political-ideological positions claimed by each theory in reference to the stance of knowledge controllers on issues that theoretically should polarize capitalists and workers.
New class theorists, for example, generally argue that knowledge controllers are anticapitalist but are not proworker or progressive. Members of the new class are seen as having a set of distinct interests stemming from their location in a new class that has emerged in late capitalism. New working-class theorists, on the other hand, see knowledge controllers as a vanguard stratum within