Three dimensions of class conflict: A cross-country comparison of individual perceptions of class conflict and their contextual determinants
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This paper explores individual perceptions of class conflict and how they relate to country-level differences regarding industrial employment, social protection spending and income inequality. The aim is to problematize the use of a coherent conceptualization of class conflict that has guided previous research. This is done by distinguishing between (1) conflicts between labor and capital, (2) conflicts among wage earners and (3) conflicts based on the distribution of resources. The paper explores the degree to which perceptions of class conflict vary between countries by investigating three hypotheses in which contextual country-level factors are of main interest. Hypothesis 1 stipulates that lower levels of industrial employment imply lower degrees of perceived conflict between labor and capital. Hypothesis 2 suggests that the decommodification of labor translates into increasing perceptions of conflict among wage earners. Hypothesis 3 expects distributive conflicts, which are conceived of as decoupled from underlying social class relations, to be associated to the objective level of income inequality. Based on ISSP data (2009), the hypotheses are explored by utilizing multi-level analysis, where individuals are nested in countries. The empirical findings suggest that the prominence of class conflict varies substantially cross-nationally. Hypothesis 1 is confirmed, as industrial employment is positively associated to perceptions of conflict between labor and capital. Hypothesis 2 is not confirmed. Country-level welfare social protection spending is not statistically significantly associated to intra-class conflict. Intra-class conflict is, however, associated to overall levels of income inequality. Lastly, hypothesis 3 is confirmed. The probability of perceiving of distributive conflict is higher in countries with higher levels of income inequality. The results indicate that the dimensions, at least partly, are empirically distinguishable. The findings point toward the need for future research in distinguishing between the societal implications of the separate conflict dimensions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 38 p.
subjective class, perceived class conflict, labor-capital, intra-class, distribution, deindustrialization, decommodification, income inequality
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-133069OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-133069DiVA: diva2:1085862