The structural dynamics of social class


Individual agency accounts of social class persist in society and even in psychological science despite clear evidence for the role of social structures. This article argues that social class is defined by the structural dynamics of society. Specifically, access to powerful networks, groups, and institutions, and inequalities in wealth and other economic resources shape proximal social environments that influence how individuals express their internal states and motivations. An account of social class that highlights the means by which structures shape and are shaped by individuals guides our understanding of how people move up or down in the social class hierarchy, and provides a framework for interpreting neuroscience studies, experimental paradigms, and approaches that attempt to intervene on social class disparities.

Current Opinion in Psychology