From class to culture

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112 Scopus citations


This article contends that class politics has receded in advanced capitalist societies during the last century, while cultural politics has increased, and it focuses on social and political institutions, rather than on occupational structure, to explain the shift. Participation in solidary groups has consequences for the social bases of politics, and the political salience of such groups is affected by social institutions that are independent of occupational structure. The first such institution is direct rule. Whereas indirect rule tends to promote class politics, direct rule favors cultural politics. Rapid expansion of direct rule since the 1960s has muted class politics and increased cultural politics. This relationship is not deterministic, however; other institutions can mitigate the effects of direct rule on the social bases of politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-445
Number of pages46
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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