The term working class
is used to denote a social class
. The definition of the term "working class" is controversial, and depends on the politics of the person making the definition and on the society being discussed. For example, British
writers are more likely to define class as being at least partly inherited, whereas Americans
are more likely to emphasize current income and employment status.
Karl Marx defined the "working class" or proletariat as "those individuals who sell their labor and do not own the means of production" whom he believed were responsible for creating the wealth of a society (buildings, bridges and furniture, for example, are physically built by members of this class).
The proletariat are further subdivided by Marxists into the ordinary proletariat and the lumpenproletariat, those who are extremely poor and cannot find legal work on a regular basis. These may be prostitutes, beggars, or homeless people.
See also: trade union, middle class, blue collar, white collar, lower class
- Moran, W. (2002). Belles of New England: The women of the textile mills and the families whose wealth they wove. New York: St Martin's Press, ISBN 0312301839.