Class consciousness and social class consciousness. What, then, is class consciousness? Obviously, there must be two kinds. Class consciousness in the Marxian sense of intense loyalty, solidarity, and enmity is familiar to everyone who has read in social science. It is a feeling of unity against all who will not accede to the wishes of the "latent masses." 46 Like the class struggle, class consciousness of this type "did not really show itself until the nineteenth century..." 47

Capitalists and their lackeys, typified by commuters on certain railway lines, are also known for their feelings of politico-industrial class consciousness. Their position is merely the other pole of the same axis, in so far as the kind of consciousness is concerned. They may, as may leading trade unionists, also be highly class conscious in the social class sense, however. In this case they and the trade union leaders might be equals and therefore on the "same side of the tracks." John L. Lewis has a son in Princeton.

Ginsberg rejects the organizational approach to the word class. To him the classes are not associational (British usage) and "they cannot be defined by their ends or purposes." 48 He identifies social class consciousness with consciousness of kind, feelings of equality and harmony, and feelings of superiority.

This carries the discussion to another plane, into another world. This is not the socialist formula for winning the class war; this is a description of the social class structure. This is another kind of class and another kind of class consciousness.

Here a man is not a loyal fighter. On the contrary, he lets lesser friends go by the board, while he cultivates new and superior acquaintances. He deserts his middle class and apes the one just above. Dawson and Gettys show how many middle class families give much attention to the ways of la haute societé because they hope someday to break into its ranks. 49 Marshall states specifically that "Social Class is based rather on similarity of attitudes than on identity of interests ... Class consciousness may, therefore, be combined with an ambition to rise, or to enable one's children to rise. This has led to the assertion that disloyalty is a characteristic feature of Social Class." 50

Next Page


46. W Vleugels, "Die Masse," pamphlet III of the Erganzungschefte zu den Kolner Heften fur Soziologie, Munich, 1930, p. 8.

47. Henri See, The Economic Interpretation of History (New York, 1929) p. 100.

48. Ginsberg, op. cit., p. 537.

49. Carl A. Dawson and Warner R. Gettys, An Introduction to Sociology (New York, 1929) p. 548.

50. Marshall, op. cit., p. 66.