First published in 1982, Professor Bauman's discussion of the mechanism of class formation and institutionalisation of class conflict argues that our understanding of changes in social and political structure has been hindered by the freezing of concepts of class in the ice-age of industrial society. He investigates the impact of historical memory on the early transformation of rank into a class society, and on the current confusion in the analysis of the `crisis of late-industrial society'.
The book traces the formation of a class society back to the patterns of `surveillance power' and control, and shows how these patterns preceded and made possible the industrial system. Subsequently `economised' into the industrial system, these same patterns of control have now proved to be inadequate under social conditions brought about by this economisation of the power conflict.
1. Class: Before and After. A Preview 2. From Rank to Class 3. The Self-assembly of Class 4. The Tendency of Industrial Society: An Interim Summary 5. Corporatism and its Discontents 6. New Contradictions, New Victims