In Political Ideology and Class Formation , Carolyn Howe presents an analysis of theories of the middle class, focusing on the class location and political ideology of three strata referred to as managers, kwledge controllers and semi-professionals. Five theories of the middle class are systematically examined - new class, new working class, new petit bourgeoisie, new labour aristocracy and contradictory class locations. Using these five theories, the author offers an accessible analysis of recent debates within class analysis and stratification studies. The first chapter situates these debates within traditional sociological studies of social class, from Marx and Weber to contemporary scholars working within the traditions of Marx and Weber. Using data from the Class Structure and Class Consciousness Study initiated by Erik Olin Wright at the University of Wisconsin, USA, Howe then develops a comparative study of the United States and Sweden. She concludes with a new model of the class structure of advanced capitalist countries. In the final chapters, Howe develops an analysis of political-ideological cleavages within classes and looks at the potential for interclass political coalitions and alliances. She states that class analysis must also include an analysis of race and gender, as capitalist societies are also fundamentally structured by race and gender inequalities. This text should be of interest to sociologists, political scientists and other scholars of class analysis, stratification, political theory and social movements.
CAROLYN HOWE is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied with Erik Olin Wright.