Class Matters

Class Matters : Inequality and Exploitation in 21st Century Britain

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Social class remains a fundamental presence in British life in the twenty-first century. It is woven into the very fabric of social and political discourse, undiminished by the end of mass industry; unaugmented despite the ascendancy of 'ordinary working people' and other substitute phrases. Absent from this landscape, however, is any compelling Marxist expression or analysis of class.

In Class Matters, Charles Umney brings Marxist analysis out of the 19th century textiles mill, and into the call centres, office blocks and fast food chains of modern Britain. He shows how core Marxist concepts are vital to understanding increasing pay inequality, decreasing job security, increasing routinisation and managerial control of the labour process.

Providing a critical analysis of competing perspectives, Umney argues that class must be understood as a dynamic and exploitative process integral to capitalism - rather than a descriptive categorisation - in order for us to better understand the gains capital has made at the expense of labour over the last four decades.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 135 x 215mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745337090
  • 9780745337098

About Charles Umney

Charles Umney is a Lecturer at the University of Leeds. He teaches, researches and writes on the subjects of trade unionism, working conditions and employment policy across Europe, and has also published extensively on the topic of working life in live music.
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Table of contents


1. The 'Economy that Works for Everyone'

2. Alien Powers: Class in Marxist Thought

3. Changing Class Dynamics in Britain

4. Jobs

5. Government

6. Class and Equality

7. Technology

8. Media and Ideology


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Review quote

'Class Matters presents a highly accessible presentation of the transformation of the British economy over the last four decades and the problems facing Britain today. Umney deftly mixes analysis of history, current events and political discourse with the latest research findings. He vividly demonstrates the acute relevance of Marxist class analysis for understanding work, government, economics and politics in 21st century capitalism' -- Matt Vidal, Loughborough University of London 'By reinstating the importance of Marxist analysis for understanding the relationship between class and social inequality in 21st century Britain, Charles Umney has written a highly cogent and perspicacious account of the formation of contemporary inequality and exploitation... a vital source' -- Professor Paul Stewart, former editor of Work, Employment and Society 'Charles Umney presents a powerful and nuanced alternative narrative driven by Marxist political economy. With a keen eye for irony, paradox, and the absurd, he analyzes work, politics, and technology in capitalist societies. Class Matters is a witty and wise antidote to the mainstream diagnoses of our times' -- Professor Ian Greer, Cornell University 'A sophisticated answer to impoverished sociologies and cheap media cliches ... A sharp and deeply necessary book' -- Richard Seymour, Salvage
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