Class – what is it?


Class is not only one of the oldest and most controversial of all concepts in social science, but a topic which has fascinated, amused, incensed and galvanized the general public, too.

But what exactly is a ‘class’? How do sociologists study and measure it, and how does it correspond to everyday understandings of social difference? Is it now dead or dying in today’s globalized and media-saturated world, or is it entering a new phase of significance on the world stage?

In this podcast, first published on, Craig Barfoot talks to Dr Will Atkinson, author of the book Class  to explore these questions.  They take us through theoretical traditions in class research, the major controversies that have shaken the field and the continuing effects of class difference, class struggle and class inequality.


Class is published by Polity Press and is part of their Concepts in Social Sciences series.

You may also be interested in our BookPod on Tony Atkinson’s book Inequality- what can be done? in which Prof Tony Atkinson talks to Fran Bennett.

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