The Status of Class

  • Stanley Aronowitz


C. Wright Mills famously amended the standard historical materialist theory of class. While not denying there is a ruling elite, and that the largest corporations were crucial among its constituents, he added two institutional orders: the top brass of the military and what he termed “the political directorate”—those perched at the pinnacle of national politics. At the same time, he offered a controversial judgment. If the criterion of class was power, Congress was relegated, in his schema, to the middle levels of power. Underlying his idea of class rule was the concept of historicity. And ownership and control of the decisive means of material production represented a central but not exclusive constituent of class power.


Social Formation Power Elite Ruling Elite BRIC Country Class Power 
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© Ron Scapp and Brian Seitz 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley Aronowitz

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