THE FUTURE OF INTELLECTUALS AND THE RISE OF THE NEW CLASS by Alvin W. Gouldner

THE FUTURE OF INTELLECTUALS AND THE RISE OF THE NEW CLASS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Alvin Gouldner shook up the sociological world a few years back with his The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology, but this little offering is unlikely to cause many ripples. Subtitled ""A Frame of Reference, Theses, Conjectures, Arguments, and an Historical Perspective on the Role of Intellectuals and Intelligentsia in the International Class Conflict of the Modern Era,"" the text barely contains more words than the cover. Dividing his ruminations into 16 ""theses"" and attendant elaborations, Gouldner runs through what is by now a familiar if shaky theory about the increasing importance of the ""new class"" composed of those who control ""cultural capital,"" consisting of either technical or humanistic knowledge. Although he distinguishes between the ""intelligentsia"" and ""intellectuals"" on the basis of this distinction between types of knowledge--a classification which renders the title nonsensical--he claims that they both share in a ""culture of critical discourse (CCD)"" by which they are defined. Gouldner may be the only one around who thinks that humanities professors and engineers speak the same language. His point, of course, is to demonstrate that this ""new class"" is distinct from the ""old class"" of capitalists but different, too, from the working class, which merely serves as cannon fodder for the new class. Anyway, because of the fact that the ""CCD"" rests on a need for justification--that's what makes it critical--""the New Class is the most progressive force in modern society and is a center of whatever human emancipation is possible in the forseeable future."" This must be Gouldner's way of fulfilling the prophecy of his earlier book.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1979
Publisher: Seabury