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Some Problems in Erik Olin Wright’s Theory of Class

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Nowadays, Erik Olin Wright‘s class theory is one of the most influential approaches to social differentiation, although in the mainstream social science the popularity of the so-called EGP class scheme is perhaps greater, Wright‘s framework has virtually no rivals amongst Marxists and neo-Marxists. Both those considerations add to the relevance of the present paper, which is a critical analysis of some of the most salient issues present in the aforementioned framework. Indeed, it turns out that Wright‘s flaws are more often than not shared by the remaining theorists dealing with social class or stratification. Nomen omen, one of those problems consists in failing to adequately distinguish between those two axes of differentiation. Perhaps the pivotal problem plaguing Wright‘s framework concerns his flawed understanding of ownership that cannot but reflect on his definition of class and exploitation.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 33)
J. Tittenbrun, "Some Problems in Erik Olin Wright’s Theory of Class", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 33, pp. 20-40, 2014
Online since:
June 2014

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[1] D. Sciulli, International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, p. 520, 2015


[2] G. McCartney, M. Bartley, R. Dundas, S. Katikireddi, R. Mitchell, F. Popham, D. Walsh, W. Wami, "Theorising social class and its application to the study of health inequalities", SSM - Population Health, 2018