Social Stratification and Class Analysis

  • Spyros Themelis
Part of the Marxism and Education book series (MAED)


Social mobility occupies a prominent position in both liberal and Marxist accounts, albeit they each approach it in different ways. The former, the liberal school, adopts a conventional stance whereby it explores and analyzes social movements in order to critique capitalism and offer tools for its improvement. By contrast, the Marxist school of thought reserves a marginal position to the study of social mobility and it invariably assigns it to the ideologically adversarial camp. In this book, I adopt an unfamiliar position as I intent to readjust that convention of social, analytical, and paradigmatic thinking on both counts. On the one hand, by moving away from the liberal theorizations that typically limit the potential of social mobility into a mechanism that has to be preserved, improved, and maximized, and viewing it as of universal value whose benefits ought to be distributed fairly to all members of society. As I argue in the remainder of this book, this interest stems from an unfounded optimism, which is predicated on the belief in the apropos of the capitalist system to provide a fair, equitable, and better future for all. On the other hand, I delineate from Marxist accounts that treat social mobility as a bourgeois preoccupation that precludes the formation of class consciousness and obfuscates the potential for transformative action. To this extent, I suggest that not only is it erroneous to ascribe the study of social mobility as a bourgeois fixation, but, in the contexts of social and economic crisis, like the ones we live in, social mobility or its lack thereof has the potential to instigate some of the radical transformations that Marxism is concerned with.


Social Class Social Mobility Cultural Capital Class Structure Class Struggle 
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© Spyros Themelis 2013

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  • Spyros Themelis

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