Skip to main content
  • Activity
  • 10 minutes

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.

This page was published over 9 years ago. Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see how we deal with older content.

John Woods of Tower Colliery 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.


Become an OU student


Ratings & Comments

Share this free course

Copyright information

Skip Rate and Review

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

Have a question?