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Class Matters

Class Matters

Inequality and Exploitation in 21st Century Britain

by Charles Umney
How class is structured in the call-centres, office blocks and fast-food chains of modern Britain.
Pluto Press 2018

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Social class remains a fundamental presence in British life in the twenty-first century. It is woven into the very fabric of social and political discourse, undiminished by the end of mass industry; unaugmented despite the ascendancy of 'ordinary working people' and other substitute phrases. Absent from this landscape, however, is any compelling Marxist expression or analysis of class.

In Class Matters, Charles Umney brings Marxist analysis out of the 19th century textiles mill, and into the call centres, office blocks and fast food chains of modern Britain. He shows how core Marxist concepts are vital to understanding increasing pay inequality, decreasing job security, increasing routinisation and managerial control of the labour process. 

Providing a critical analysis of competing perspectives, Umney argues that class must be understood as a dynamic and exploitative process integral to capitalism - rather than a descriptive categorisation - in order for us to better understand the gains capital has made at the expense of labour over the last four decades.


Charles Umney is a Lecturer at the University of Leeds. He teaches, researches and writes on the subjects of trade unionism, working conditions and employment policy across Europe, and has also published extensively on the topic of working life in live music. He is the author of Class Matters (Pluto, 2018).

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