Class and its linkage to politics became a controversial and exciting topic again in the 1990s. Terry Clark and Seymour Martin Lipset published “Are Social Classes Dying?” in 1991, which sparked a lively debate and much new research. The main critics of Clark and Lipset—at Oxford and Berkeley—held (initially) that class was more persistent than Clark and Lipset suggested. The positions were sharply opposed and involved several conceptual and methodological concerns. But the issues grew more nuanced as further reflections and evidence accumulated.

This book draws on four main conferences organized by the editors. Sharply contrasting views are forcefully argued with rich and subtle evidence. The volume includes a broad overview and synthesis; major reports by leading participants; and original theoretical and empirical contributions.

Terry Nichols Clark is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He has written and edited some 25 books, including The New Political Culture and City Money. Seymour Martin Lipset is Hazel Professor Public Policy, George Mason University. His books include Political Man; Class, Status, and Party; Agrarian Socialism; The First New Nation; Revolution and Counterrevolution; and American Exceptionalism. He has served as editor of Public Opinion magazine.


List of Figure and Tables

Terry Nichols Clark and Seymour Martin Lipset

1. What Have We Learned in a Decade on Class and Party Politics?
Terry Nichols Clark

2. Are Social Classes Dying?
Seymour Martin Lipset

3. The Persistence of Classes in Post-Industrial Societies
Mike Hout, Clem Brooks, and Jeff Manza

4. The Declining Political Significance of Social Class
Terry Nichols Clark, Seymour Martin Lipset, and Michael Rempel

5. Class and Politics in Advanced Industrial Societies
John H. Goldthorpe

6. The Democratic Class Struggle in Postwar Societies: Traditional Class Voting in Twenty Countries, 1945–1990
Paul Nieuwbeerta

7. Class Paradigm and Politics
Jan Pakulski

8. Class, Culture, and Conservatism: Reassessing Education as a Variable in Political Sociology
Dick Houtman

9. Social Class and Voting: The Case Against Decline
David L. Weakliem

10. Upper-Middle-Class Politics and Policy Outcomes: Does Class Identity Matter?
Herman L. Boschken

11. The Decline of Class Ideologies: The End of Political Exceptionalism?
Seymour Martin Lipset

12. The Debate over “Are Social Classes Dying?”
Terry Nichols Clark


“A useful introduction.… The challenges to class analysis and political sociology posed in this volume and elsewhere will continue to shape the development of both fields.”—Kim A. Weeden, American Journal of Sociology

“There can be no question that the theme is enormously important. Having first-rate empirical material dedicated to a debate about the relevance of social class to politics of the century soon upon us will stimulate wide debate and will frame many graduate and undergraduate courses around the country, if not the globe. And these are the ideal contributors to take on this task.”—Alan Wolfe, Boston College