Zur Mitte drängt sich alles (Teil 1).
Historische Klassenstudien im Lichte der Gegenwart
The public and scientific discourse about the social structure in Germany is characterized by an absence of class categories and a peculiar attentiveness towards the middle classes - even the misleading term ‘Mittelstand’ is in use. This mode of thinking ‘beyond classes’ is criticized in a historical perspective. We reconstruct how several important socials scientist of the ‘Weimar Republic’ (1919-1933) analyzed the socio-economic status and mentalities of the so called ‘Neuer Mittelstand’ (primarily consisting of private and public employees).These sociologists revealed the clear majority of white collar and service workers as ‘hidden class’. In economic terms they are an essential part of the wage-dependent working class, albeit employed under specific conditions. Their position in the hierarchy of organizations and their (often merely pretended) prestige are the main causes of ‘middle class’ mentalities and their ‘alienation’ from working class values, habits and orientations. Referring to the Marx-related, but modified class studies of the past, the second part of the essay – coming up in the next PROKLA issue - will discuss the shortfalls of theories and conceptions of German middle classes in current sociology and politics, criticising their scientific approach as ‘classignoring’ ideologies.