P030
The future of class

Convenors:
Hadas Weiss (The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Katariina Mäkinen (University of Helsinki)
Location:
Hall 1
Start time:
16 May, 2014 at 13:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

We contend with questions of class and untangle class links and intersections from other contemporary phenomena. We foreground class-based social inequalities; unveil class-motivated exclusions; and construe the meanings of class-specific distinctions that permeate social practices and policies.

Long abstract:

The issue of social class has long dominated both national and global struggles and divisions. In recent decades, however, the opposition between labor and capital has moved backstage, substituted with identity politics and more gradient forms of stratification. Yet far from being defused, class conflict retains its significance. Indeed, all of the categories that anthropologists think with - whether race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or culture - are shot through with class tensions. Just as class is suppressed in discourse, it reasserts itself as a praxis that anticipates the policies and disciplines of the future. Our aim in this panel is to contend with questions of class and class formation directly, and untangle class links and intersections from other contemporary phenomena. We wish to foreground class-based social inequalities; unveil class-motivated exclusions; and construe the meanings of class-specific distinctions that permeate social practices and policies, such as prestige, security, and respectability. Our perspective is both conceptual and ethnographic, and considers local and transnational case-studies that include the working class, the middle class, and the underclass. We spotlight the class aspects of immigration, care-work, marginality, and financialization; and welcome papers that offer unique insights from a range of other ethnographic projects in which class is an active category.