class situation

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Class situation was defined by Max Weber as the particular causal component in life-chances that results from a person's location in property and market relations. Marxists call this class position or class location. In a study of class consciousness among clerical workers (The Blackcoated Worker, 1958; 2nd edn., 1989), the British sociologist David Lockwood introduced an influential view of class situation that distinguished the market situation (‘the economic position narrowly conceived, consisting of source and size of income, degree of job-security, and opportunity for upward occupational mobility’) and the work situation (‘the set of social relationships in which the individual is involved at work by virtue of his position in the division of labour’). He also distinguished the status situation (‘the position of the individual in the hierarchy of prestige in the society at large’). It was the particular combination of experiences originating in class and status situations that, according to Lockwood, constituted the principal determinants of class consciousness among clerks. See also goldthorpe class scheme; social class; social status.

Subjects: Sociology.

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