Does the middle class exist...

Does the middle class exist? Is it just a construct of the bourgeoisie to further divide the proletariat and snuff out class consciousness? Or is it a real thing with different interests than the other workers'?

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Well, I like to use that term to refer to people who are in the middle of the socio-economic spectrum, just because everybody else uses it that way. But when I talk about class in the Marxist sense, no, that term has little meaning and I just use the catch-all "working class".

Not for long.

The "middle class" is part of the liberal conception of class that has to do with status and income brackets instead of relation to means of production.

Or do you mean petit-bourgeoisie?

No. It has no definition, and like all concepts lacking definitions it is pure fabricated bullshit.

It exists and can be a useful term but is really a completely separate standard of characterization from marxist categorization of class.
Both middle and lower class can intersect with basically all of the marxist categorization except obviously bourgeois.

There is a brazilian sociologist called Jesse Souza who makes a pretty interesting argument against regular conceptions of class, both the liberal ("muh income brackets") and the marxist one. He says these analyses are economicists and fail to realize how other factors can affect a persons interests which are not merely economical.
He claims that all division of class must come from how people are first socialised in the world, that is, family. He then defines two important catagories: "economic capital", which is of course money, and "cultural capital", which involves culture, but affects education, since how well people perform in school is deeply tied to family conditions.
He the defines four classes:
-The rich: they are born with plenty acess to economic capital, this is what defines them. However, to be able to socialise they must also acquire cultural capital, even if they dont need it for money.
-The middle class: they are born with plenty acess to cultural capital. Because of their cultural family environment, they acquire what they need (education, good relationships, general knowledge) to make some economic capital, but what defines them is their cultural capital
Then the last two are fluid, because they depend on individual conditions
-The productive workers: they are able to acess cultural capital through much dedication, either by them or their parents, or through government help (public services such as education) even if their family does not have a history of it. This makes it possible for them to eventually become middle class, even if born to a poor family
-The excluded: they are never able to acess cultural capital, and therefore are condemed to work shitty jobs and have not opportunity of social mobility.
This is interestting because it would suggest that the middle class have an interest in maintaining modern capitalist societies, since though they are not in the top economically, they still are when it comes to opportuinities. What do you guys think of it?

The middle class aspires to join the bourgeoisie at retirement, and for its children or grandchildren to join the "upper classes."

On the other hand, the working poor "live a hand-to mouth existence" and do not share this aspiration.

Whoa, a brazilian man discovered Bourdieu's ideas, impressive.

never read Bourdieu, so I wouldnt know. Any recomendations?

vimeo.com/92709274 is a good starting point, move onto his books if you want to learn more.

It's more of that he introduce some of Bourdieu's concepts and ideas to Brasil, while taking both Marx and Weber theories to criticize the mainstream leftist position in our own country.

hipster shit, move that up on the economic capital scale and left towards negative cultural capital

The way it was described and appropriated to Souza was kind of infuriating but I'm sure he brought his own contribution to the matter.

thats probably my fault for not knowing he had approprietated this from Bourdieu. He is still a good theorist though.

Middle-Class is based off of separating classes by wages. It was purposely made to find a connectivity among people and to weaken class tensions. Middle-Class often refers to middle managers, union workers, professionals… and thus encompasses a huge variety of wealth earning. It's pretty meaningless.

Working class is defined on a spectrum based off of an individuals power in the economic system. The workers have little control over their conditions, surplus value, means of production, etc, while the capitalist class has the control and the power.

Framing things as "lower-middle-upper" class eliminates the narrative that it is in everyone's interest to maximize their own control over production.

The middle class exists; it's traditionally a combination of white collar/IT/professional workers and petit-bourgeoisie small business owners. In postwar America this was expanded into a "labor aristocracy" including a lot of blue collar factory workers. This was deliberately done through social democratic policies (GI Bill, etc.) in order to form a bulwark against communism, and was sustained by the dominance of Western economies until the 1970s.

No problem, Marx poster. Jesse is pretty interesting, still. So is Bourdieu.


Anão, I'd suggest Chico de Oliveira, if you don't know him already. He is/was quite good.

I like him already. Thanks for the recommendation anão.

To me, the middle class are petit bougeois that are muh privileged enough to be quite satisfied with the system. They're not scum, they're just ignorant.

Marx's definition of class was designed to illicit emnity in most of the people who would learn about it, namely the "working class" who make up the majority of the population. Marxism defines class with a materialistic lens that ignores the more traditional connotations of class. It uses examples from 19th century western Europe to illustrate all human conflict as a clash of competing desires for excess physical consumption.

Instead of confining his analysis to 19th century western Europe, Marx was wrong in explaining that ALL CONFLICTS throughout human history could be narrowly defined as materialistic counterpositions. Whenever Engels identified societies where this condition was not easily apparent, he either explained them as superb models of socialism or subhumans who deserved to be genocided in the revolution.

it's just above average labor power

Because everything that isn't marxist is a conspiracy against marxism.

That's how it actually exists. The marxist version is imposed and self-referential, mistaking the map for the territory.

It doesn't "exist", it's an abstraction to describe how society is organized.
By relationships of production or by income level, one is a hell of a lot more useful than the other.
why do rightwingers love to argue semantics so fucking much?
Class relating to production had been the norm until the late 19th century when people found politically convenient ways to misuse the term and turn the working class against itself.

See how Noblemen and the Emerging Bougeoisie were regarded as different CLASSES even thought the latter had a lot more economic power than the former.

Nonsense. If you want to illicit enmity, you appeal to identity and culture. Marx's definition of class illustrates the dialectical relationships that shape and define modes of production.

Noblemen and bourgeoisie were different before the law.

And, of course, by the time the bourgeoisie came on top economically, the laws enshrining nobility's muh privileges were already anachronistic, an artifact of historical inertia, and were soon repelled. They new ruling class had no need for them.

What you find useful isn't how conceptions of class actually exist in a given society.


Because there are implications in your definitions and I'm not going to beg the question with you.


Europe up till then was in many ways officially stratified, with class being a legal concept tied up to a societal one.