Class Matters: The Historical Archaeology of Class in the American Experience

Author(s): LouAnn Wurst

Year: 2013


Class is probably the most confused and contested concept wielded in the social sciences.  Perceptions run a wide gamut: from class as the single most important aspect of the American experience, one that has seldom been seriously contemplated or explored; to ideas that class is a stale, outdated, or dead concept,  irrelevant to a sustained understanding of the modern world or the past that gave rise to it.  These contradictory ideas are evidence that class has been defined and utilized in several mutually exclusive ways.  I suggest that a theory of internal relations helps us move past this sterile polemic debate.  Brief case studies that utilize class in both expected and unexpected contexts demonstrates how it can be effectively applied in any historical archaeological context.  Based on these, I argue that class matters both to the discipline of historical archaeology and to our understanding of the American experience.

Cite this Record

Class Matters: The Historical Archaeology of Class in the American Experience. LouAnn Wurst. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428670)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 153