RETHINKING CLASSES: A FRIENDLY CRITIQUE AND MOVING FORWARD OF ERIK OLIN WRIGHT'S CLASS THEORY
AuthorColdsmith, Jeremiah L.
Committee ChairGrant, Don
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe primary goal of this dissertation is to lay the groundwork for the eventual combination of micro and macro levels of class analysis into a unified theory. The first steps of this process require the creation of a micro level theory of class identity formation, a slight reconceptualization of the class map upon which the macro level theory is based, and an elaboration of the partial macro level theory provided by Wright (1997). At the micro level, I find the factors which contribute to class identity formation depend on which class identities are being distinguished. This result echoes the findings of Centers  1961, but moves beyond his analysis by quantifying the contribution of each of the factors to the predicted probability of selecting a class identity. At the macro level, I find that including partial ownership in Wright's class map uncovers important hidden variation among Wright's non-owning class locations. Separating partial owners from non-owners illustrates an important source of division in class consciousness not possible using Wright's class map. Finally, I further elaborate Wright's partial theory of class consciousness by demonstrating that McPherson's concept of socio-structural space can be usefully applied to the class structure, which provides a set of hypotheses to explain how class formation affects class consciousness. The solidarity hypothesis is supported, suggesting class based homogeneous friendship relations strengthen class consciousness in the polar class locations. Increasing class based social distance between friends, decreases the strength of an individual's class consciousness. While just the first steps, these advancements in theory and empirical results help further the cause of creating a unified theory of class by strengthening our understanding of both the micro and macro levels of class analysis. With these improvements in place, further work at both levels of analysis can continue the process of integrating the two levels of analysis.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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