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Abstract

This paper gives an account of working-class studies as it has developed in the USA and UK. It includes a comparative assessment of ways in which the working-class and class analysis appear within academe. This argues that the different role played by social classes in the post-war settlement and its subsequent breakdown can account for divergent fortunes of class analysis in response to similar developments. The paper unpacks some of the opportunities and threats to further development of working-class studies in the UK. It is argued that the field needs to be developed in a way that is reflexively self-critical and avoids reproducing middle-class experience as universal. However, it notes the challenge of opening up space for the working class within the academy, particularly given the problem of the institutional embodiment of class together with the rigid framework of higher education in the UK.