Why Class Matters

When Erik Olin Wright “fell into Marxism” in the 1970s, it was “the only game in town” for a serious radical scholar.

By the 1990s this was no longer so, with Marxism retreating to the margins inside and outside the academy. Wright chose to stay. He set out to reconstruct a sociological Marxism by treating it not as a set of fixed ideas or as an idiosyncratic method, but as a distinctive set of questions and a conceptual framework for answering them.

Wright’s Marxism is ordinary social science, but guided by the pursuit of socialism.

His work over more than forty years has focused on rethinking two core parts of the Marxian tradition: class and strategies for social transformation. Wright’s new book, Understanding Class, bumps his own approach to class up against the likes of Thomas Piketty and Guy Standing. And the ebook Alternatives to Capitalism, recording a debate with Robin Hahnel, shows his recent thinking on socialist possibilities.

On a recent visit to Australia, Wright spoke with Jacobin editor Mike Beggs in a wide-ranging interview, discussing everything from Weber and Marx to markets and his views on left strategy.

Read the full article at Jacobin


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