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Contradictory Class Locations -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Kretchmar, Jennifer;

2009 / EBSCO


The following is a summary of Erik Olin Wright's theory of contradictory class locations. Wright began studying class in the late 1970s, with the intention of demonstrating the continuing relevance of Marxist thought. Scholars had become increasingly critical of Marx's conceptualization of class structure, and its inability to accommodate the growing middle class of the twentieth century. Wright extended Marx's theory by situating the middle class in contradictory class locations - locations which are torn between the basic class relations of capitalist society. The article will further define these positions and introduce three specific types of contradictory locations. Criticisms of the theory will be addressed, as will Wright's response to these criticisms.