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The Moral Significance of Class


  • Page extent: 256 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.38 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521616409 | ISBN-10: 0521616409)

DOI: 10.2277/0521616409

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 01 December 2015)


The Moral Significance of Class, first published in 2005, analyses the moral aspects of people's experience of class inequalities. Class affects not only our material wealth but our access to things, relationships, and practices which we have reason to value, including the esteem or respect of others and hence our sense of self-worth. It shapes the kind of people we become and our chances of living a fulfilling life. Yet contemporary culture is increasingly 'in denial' about class, finding it embarrassing to acknowledge, even though it can often be blatantly obvious. By drawing upon concepts from moral philosophy and social theory and applying them to empirical studies of class, this fascinating and accessible study shows how people are valued in a context in which their life-chances and achievements are objectively affected by the lottery of birth class, and by forces which have little to do with their moral qualities or other merits.

• Draws upon moral philosophy to interpret what sociology tends to miss about class: its moral significance • Analyses the moral aspects of the subjective experience of class inequalities in an original and accessible way • Develops a new approach to understanding ordinary experience


Preface and acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. From habitus to ethical dispositions; 3. Recognition and distribution; 4. Concepts of class: clearing the ground; 5. Struggles of the social field; 6. Moral and immoral sentiments and class; 7. Responses to class I. egalitarianism, respect(ability), class pride and moral boundary drawing; 8. Responses to class II. explanations, justifications and embarrassment; 9. Conclusions and implications; References.


'It is stimulating and insightful both in the overall thrust of its argument and the details of its analysis … a book of bread relevance to anyone interested in sociological theory, the normative dimensions of culture, and inequality.' American Journal of Sociology

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