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Camfield, David. “Re-Orienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations.” Essay


The article under consideration dwells upon class theory which sees a class as a multidimensional social formation. The author analyzes several theoretical views on the process of class formation and comes up with particular views on the class. Camfield stresses that the class should be analyzed in terms of several factors, such as social relations, gender and race (421).

In the first place, the author points out that there are several definitions of the class. He states that the one by Ste. Croix is the most precise.

The major points in that definition are: the class is constituted by people “identified by their position in the whole system of social production” who interact with people pertaining to other classes (qtd. in Camfield 422). However, Camfield also notes that this is only a part of definition (424).

The author claims that class relations can be traced in each aspect of social life. The researcher also notes that classes should be analyzed in terms of such spheres as “paid workplace, households and communities” (qtd. in Camfield 424).

The author also points out that class resistance is not confined to resistance of working classes only as there are many types of oppression. Notably, Camfield addresses Marx’s works (427). The author notes that Marx did not have a particular definition of the class and mainly focused on working classes paying little attention to different aspects of this social entity.

Camfield also analyzes Gramsci’s views on the matter (430). Camfield underlines that Gramsci paid attention to such aspects of class as work, politics touching upon national issues. The author also deals with Thompson’s ideas, stressing that the major contribution of the latter is that Thompson revealed structured nature of the class (Camfield 437). The researcher also considers major points of Autonomist Marxism (Camfield 438).

Finally, the author incorporates the major concepts of these theories and comes up with a complex view on the class. Camfield suggests that the class should be understood as a multidimensional social entity which is in constant change due to such factors as work, capital, politics, race and gender.

It is necessary to note that there have been quite many works concerning correlation between the class and race. For instance, Engen also touches upon this matter (250). However, the author leaves behind the aspect of gender, he considers central issues concerning the class and racial identity.

On the contrary, Wong(Lau) reveals such major aspects of the class as ethnicity, gender and race (256). It is important to note that researchers considering ethnicity and relations between races inevitably touch upon issues concerning class. Thus, Morris focuses on ethnicity though he notes the role of classes in ethnical identity (217).

Likewise, Kimoto deals with cultural empowerment which is closely connected with the class and relations between classes (210). Rowe also pays attention to the role of class when reflecting upon her experiences in immigration and assimilation (298).

Therefore, all these articles (including Camfield’s work) touch upon the role of race and gender in class formation, and vice versa, the role of class in developing gender and race identity.

Discussion question: Based on Camfield’s assumptions, can you define the role gender and race play in the process of class formation and its reshaping?

Works Cited

Camfield, David. “Re-Orienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations.” Science & Society 68.4 (2004-2005): 421-446. Print.

Engen, David. “Invisible Identities: Notes on Class and Race.” Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication. Eds. Alberto Gonzalez, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen. New York, NY: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2003. 250-256. Print.

Kimoto, Diane M. “Being Hapa: A Choice for Cultural Empowerment.” Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication. Eds. Alberto Gonzalez, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen. New York, NY: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2003. 210-217. Print.

Morris, R. “Living In/Between.” Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication. Eds. Alberto Gonzalez, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen. New York, NY: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2003. 217-228. Print.

Rowe, Aimee Carrillo. “Women Writing Borders, Borders Writing Women: Immigration, Assimilation, and the Politics of Speaking.” Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication. Eds. Alberto Gonzalez, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen. New York, NY: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2003. 298-312. Print.

Wong(Lau), Kathleen. “Working Through Identity: Understanding Class in the Context of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender.” Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication. Eds. Alberto Gonzalez, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen. New York, NY: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2003. 256-266. Print.

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"Camfield, David. "Re-Orienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations."." IvyPanda, 3 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/camfield-david-re-orienting-class-analysis-working-classes-as-historical-formations/.

1. IvyPanda. "Camfield, David. "Re-Orienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations."." April 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/camfield-david-re-orienting-class-analysis-working-classes-as-historical-formations/.


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IvyPanda. "Camfield, David. "Re-Orienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations."." April 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/camfield-david-re-orienting-class-analysis-working-classes-as-historical-formations/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Camfield, David. "Re-Orienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations."." April 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/camfield-david-re-orienting-class-analysis-working-classes-as-historical-formations/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Camfield, David. "Re-Orienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations."'. 3 April.

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