Class Consciousness

   Classes, according to Karl Marx, inevitably develop their own identity, interests and outlook. Class consciousness is the development of an awareness of belonging to a class, of that class’s interest and its enemy. The proletariat, although defined essentially by its nonownership of the means of production, only becomes a class in the full sense when it gains class consciousness. This class consciousness manifests itself in a sense of solidarity and the formation of separate political organizations based on class identity. With the development of class consciousness the proletariat turns from being a “class in itself,” where class identity is essentially passive, to being a “class for itself,” where class identity is conscious and active. For the proletariat class consciousness means revolutionary consciousness since only through revolution and the overthrow of capitalism can the true interests of the proletariat be achieved.
   For Marx class consciousness develops more or less spontaneously in the course of class conflict. However, later Marxists, notably Karl Kautsky and Vladimir Ilich Lenin, argued that revolutionary class consciousness had to be brought to the workers from the “outside,” that is to say, socialist intellectuals or a vanguard party with a highly developed class consciousness had to educate and guide the proletariat to avoid a lapse into a reformist, “trade union consciousness” that failed to move beyond demands for better pay and conditions to the call for an outright revolution.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • class consciousness — n. an awareness of belonging to a class in the social order, with definite economic interests; sense of class solidarity class conscious adj …   English World dictionary

  • class consciousness — n [U] technical knowledge and understanding of the class system, and of your own and other people s social class …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Class consciousness — Part of a series on Marxism …   Wikipedia

  • class consciousness — In the transition from a ‘class in itself’ (a category of people having a common relation to the means of production) to a ‘class for itself’ (a stratum organized in active pursuit of its own interests ) the emphasis in Marxist analysis has been… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • class consciousness — class conscious /klas kon sheuhs, klahs /, adj. 1. awareness of one s own social or economic rank in society. 2. a feeling of identification and solidarity with those belonging to the same social or economic class as oneself. [1885 90] * * * …   Universalium

  • class consciousness — class′ con′sciousness n. 1) soc awareness of one s own social or economic rank 2) soc a feeling of identification and solidarity with those belonging to the same social or economic class as oneself • Etymology: 1885–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • class-consciousness — class conˈsciousness noun • • • Main Entry: ↑class …   Useful english dictionary

  • class consciousness — noun awareness of one s place in a system of social class, especially (in Marxist terms) as it relates to the class struggle. Derivatives class conscious adjective …   English new terms dictionary

  • class consciousness —    A Marxist term denoting an accurate awareness of social class interests and a willingness to pursue them. A class conscious grouping in society is one which is concerned to acknowledge and advance its own distinctive interests, often seeing… …   Glossary of UK Government and Politics

  • class consciousness — awareness of the differences between the classes (lower class, upper class, etc.) …   English contemporary dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.