Social Class

  • Paul Wakeling


This chapter makes the case for the continued importance of the concept of social class for understanding global citizenship. It considers different approaches to defining and measuring social class before examining how social class relates to citizenship, through a review of the ideas of TH Marshall. Marshall argued that class-based social inequalities impede full citizenship even where political and civil rights have been secured. This argument is illustrated through contemporary debates about (a) social mobility; and (b) political engagement. While some have claimed that the importance of social class for identity and political action has diminished, it is proposed that recent cultural class analyses reveal new ways in which social class can obstruct citizenship. Education figures prominently in these processes, since social class inequalities affect educational achievement, which in turn influences the full enjoyment of citizenship. The case is made for extending the examination of the relationship between social class and citizenship to the global level, taking note of the risk that global citizenship becomes a site of class-based processes of the deployment and accumulation of advantage.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Derwent CollegeUniversity of YorkHeslington, YorkUK

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