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Theories of the New Class

Intellectuals and Power

2004
Authors:

Lawrence Peter King and Iván Szelényi

Theories of the New Class

Demonstrates the centrality of thinking about intellectual class formation to social theory

In Theories of the New Class, Iván Szelényi, one of the most incisive and respected analysts of the intellectual class, and Lawrence King put New Class theories into a broad historical framework for the first time.

This book grounds class theories in contemporary issues, and uses modern polemics to revitalize historical debates on the origins of capitalism.

This book invigorates class theories by grounding them in contemporary issues, and revitalizes historical debates on the origins of capitalism with modern polemics.

Barbara Heyns, New York University

Old as the notion of the “New Class” is (the term was coined by anarchist Mikhail Bakunin around 1870), the idea of the ascendancy of an intellectual elite continues to engage, and perplex, social theorists. In Theories of the New Class, Iván Szelényi, one of the most incisive and respected analysts of the intellectual class, and his colleague Lawrence King put New Class theories into a broad historical framework for the first time.

Addressing the intellectual history of Marxism and socialism, theories of the increasing role of the state and technocratic elites in capitalism, and theories of contemporary social change, King and Szelényi’s work clearly links the centrality of thinking about intellectual class formation to a variety of theoretical and political projects that have shaped social theory and influenced political realities over the past century.

King and Szelényi show that the idea of the New Class has stubbornly entered and reentered the agenda of critical social theorizing throughout the last century. Indeed, they interpret that the last century as a history of projects by different groups of the highly educated—factions of intellectuals, bureaucrats, technocrats, managers, and the left-wing humanistic intelligentsia—to gain ultimate power. A rare empirical discussion of theory, Theories of the New Class invigorates class theories by grounding them in contemporary issues; at the same time, it uses modern polemics to revitalize historical debates on the origins of capitalism.


Theories of the New Class

Lawrence Peter King, associate professor of sociology at Yale University, is the author of The Basic Features of Postcommunist Capitalism (2001).

Iván Szelényi is William Graham Sumner Professor of Sociology and professor of political science at Yale University. He is the author or coauthor of Intellectuals on the Road to Class Power (1979), Urban Social Inequalities (1983), Socialist Entrepreneurs (1988), and Making Capitalism without Capitalists (1998).

Theories of the New Class

This book invigorates class theories by grounding them in contemporary issues, and revitalizes historical debates on the origins of capitalism with modern polemics.

Barbara Heyns, New York University

King and Szelényi go beyond the mere exercise of critical appraisal . . . this is an interesting book, which is certainly recommended for those interested in political sociology and the history of ideas.

Sociology

Theories of the New Class

Contents

Preface

Introduction: Intellectuals and the End of History

1. Proto-Theories of the New Class: Hegel, Saint-Simon, and Marx
2. The Vanguard Project
3. A Bureaucratic Class in Soviet-Type Society
4. Beyond Bureaucratic Power: Humanistic Intellectuals and Technocrats under State Socialism
5. The Fall of the Class Project of the Socialist Reform Intelligentsia
6. Intellectuals under Postcommunism
7. Bourgeois and Post-Marxist Theories of the New Class in the West
8. The Neo-Marxist Response to Bourgeois Theories of the New Class
9. The Limits of the New Class Project in the West

Conclusion: The “Third Way” as the Fourth Wave of New Class Projects?

Notes
Works Cited

Index