From Class to Culture

This article contends that class politics has receded in advanced capitalist societies during the last century, while cultural politics has increased, and it focuses on social and political institutions, rather than on occupational structure, to explain the shift. Participation in solidary groups is key to the social bases of politics, and the political salience of such groups is affected by social institutions that are independent of the occupational structure. Whereas indirect rule tends to promote class politics, direct rule favors cultural politics. This relationship is not deterministic, however; other institutions can mitigate the effects of direct rule on the social bases of politics.