Saturday, February 4, 2017

"A class relationship, at any rate, cannot be reduced to its possible outcomes. It might produce an unequal distribution of rewards, for example, or afford differential access to education, but these are its measurable effects, imperfect proxies. Class is a relationship based on different positions in relations of production, supported by relations of authority (or, in another idiom, political and ideological control). From this perspective, what distinguishes the middle class from workers is not how much they know, but how much authority they have in the production process. The emergence of a ‘new middle class’ in the post-war period, was concurrent with the expansion of public sector bureaucracies, and with capital’s development of new disciplinary apparatuses – middle managers, technicians , and supervisors – to better control the labour process and counteract working class militancy. This distinction is not always as hard in reality as in theory – in practice, there tend to be elements of the middle class that are downwardly mobile, undergoing ‘proletarianisation’, and elements of the working class being drawn into the middle class. This gives rise to ambiguous phenomena which Erik Olin Wright dubbed ‘contradictory class locations’ – that is, positions in production relations that contain elements of different social classes in motion."---Richard Seymour

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