1. Marxist ideas of class a) What does he say – who are the proletariat, the bourgeoisie and the landed class? How do we define them? Class as a thing. b) Class consciousness – a class for itself – class as a collective subjectivity. c) Marx’s ideas did not come out of nowhere – people need to find a way to explain the unequal world in which they live – this is why the problem has never gone away. 2. This idea of class influenced much history writing. a) Marx himself argued for a historical role for class. It was the engine of social change. ‘All history is hitherto the history of class struggle.’ b) Idea that proletarian revolutions would follow bourgeois revolutions was applied by many historians. c) This has the potential to produce a mechanistic history. But not always. Marxist historians such as EP Thompson showed considerable innovation. Looked more at class consciousness – cultural manifestations of classes. Hobsbawm on coherency of working-class communities pre-war. 3. Socio-economic developments a) Decline of Fordism – Post-Fordist society. b) Rise of consumer culture – identity emerges through what we buy, not what we produce? c) Identity politics – class no longer over-riding unifier in politics. Displaced by gender and/or race? d) Youth culture, subcultures. 4. Different historical approaches to class a) Empirical questioning – blurred boundaries between different classes/ workers voting Tory b) Feminist historians and Black historians point out that the idea of a unified working class is a myth. c) Poststructuralist theory – instability of identities, we can be many identities at once. 5. Goodbye to class? Class remains a persistent concern within society. a) Inequality persists at a structural level. Cabinet where most people went to Oxbridge. Only 30 per cent of students at Oxbridge went to comprehensives, and of those only 0.3 per cent had free school meals. b) Austerity regime is seen by many as a form of class warfare. c) Link between material conditions and political alignments reoccurring – Precariat, new dangerous class. d) Can we have a more flexible, more nuanced understanding of class?