The Inclining Significance of Class
he late New York Times
architecture critic Herbert Muschamp once wrote that “just by daring to use the word class,” I had “changed the framework for discussing social and economic inequality.”1
In the cold war environment of the 1950s and 1960s, class had become something of a dirty word in America. In 1959, the sociologist Robert Nisbet declared that “the term social class . . . is nearly valueless for the clarification of data on wealth, power and status.”2
Daniel Bell proclaimed not just the end of class but of ideology.3
A 2001 book was titled simply The Classless Society.4
Sociologists supplanted the older construct of class with a new, empirically grounded construct of “socioeconomic status,” ...