Classlessness

From Academic Kids

Classlessness refers to a type of society in which social classes do not exist. Broadly speaking, such societies can be divided in two distinct categories:

  1. Societies in which classes have never developed. These are usually the kind of societies where all people naturally play similar economic roles; they include most early human groups, as well as the more recent societies of the native inhabitants of North America, many Pacific islands, and so on. Some of them are forms of primitive communism.
  2. Societies where classes have been abolished. Such a situation is usually the result of a voluntary decision by the members of a certain society, to abolish that society's class structure. Examples include all modern communes, most notably the Paris Commune, the kibbutzim, etc. Furthermore, the abolition of social classes and the establishment of a classless society is the ultimate goal of both communism and anarchism.

Classless societies are highly egalitarian, and they often do not use the concept of private property. Many are governed by a form of direct democracy.

See also



Classlessness also refers to the state of mind required in order to operate effectively as a social anthropologist. Anthropological training includes making assessments of and therefore becoming aware of one's own class assumptions, so that these can be set aside from conclusions reached about other societies. Otherwise conclusions reached about studied societies will likely be coloured by the anthropologist's own class values. See the article on class consciousness in this context.

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