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Society, Politics & Law
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  • 10 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

Discuss: Does work define your class position?

Updated Tuesday 6th August 2013

What do you think about work and the working class? Fill in our short survey and share your thoughts and memories.

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © Matt Cardy / Getty Images It is said that work defines the working class. In fact, according to Karl Marx’s classic analysis it is only through work that we can understand society, with its division between the working class and the capitalist class. The former works; the latter exploits workers, profiting from their labour.

But even if this is still the big picture, the nature of work, and who does it—women, men, young or old—has certainly changed since Marx’s time.

We'd like you to share your thoughts with us and with each other. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • Is there any sort of work you think of as being specifically working class? Why?
  • Does what you do at work matter?
  • Is pay the main issue?
  • What about control over what you can and can't do in the way?

Let us know your responses to the statements below, then give us some more of your thoughts, experiences and memories of working class work in the comments section lower down this page.

Once you've discussed work, you can visit other discussion hubs about working class housingleisurerepresentation and struggle. You can also order a free journal of working class life to dig deeper in to each of these issues.


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

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