10 - Politics of Class.docx

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30 Mar 2012
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Politics of Class
Defining social class:
- Income?
- Social status?
- Economic role?
Rural class structure
- large landowners
o Sometimes depends on geography (irrigation e.g. Egypt) or colonialism (setting up large
plantations in Latin America), other factors
o competition and rivalry, or cohesion when they feel threatened (e.g. by land reform
measures)
- Middle peasants
- Small-holding peasants
o Not employing, working own plots
- Landless and near-landless
o Share-croppers, renters
Working large landowners land and paying rent
o Could be because agricultural land is limited, or there are a lot of large landowners
With each generation, if land is split between all kids and no expansion plots
will get smaller and smaller
o Agricultural labourers
o Primary source of urban migration
- May be a function of geography, or colonial rule.
o E.g. Egypt had very unequal land distribution, changed with new land reforms
o Large landowners registered their land under various family members or bribed
government officials
o (insert graph)
Urban class structure
- Bourgeoisie
o National usually capitalist, may favor tariff barriers to protect domestic
o comprador linked to outside economic interests (e.g. MNC)
o state gov’t has emerged as major owner of industrial products (act as business
owners)
- Petite-bourgeoisie/ middle class
o Traders, artisans, shop keepers
May employ others, but work directly
o Professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers, students, etc.)
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