Post-Capitalism and Class Transformation in Modern Society:
from a Liberator Class to a New Antagonism?

Davydov D.A.

Cand. Sci. (Polit.), Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of RAS, Yekaterinburg, Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250014309-2
ID of the Article:

For citation:

Davydov D.A. Post-Capitalism and Class Transformation in Modern Society: from a Liberator Class to a New Antagonism?. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 6. P. 3-13


The article raises the problem of the perspectives of class analysis as a tool for studying postcapitalist trends in modern society. Attempts to consider in these tendencies the signs of the emergence of a new liberator class, whose mission is to establish a new social order, free from class antagonisms, are criticized. It is argued that today a new antagonistic social formation is emerging, and this is evidenced by the expanding sphere of competition for self-realization and a new scarce resource – attention. The concept of a new class stratification is presented: on those who are in the center of public attention (the personaliat) and those who, due to objective reasons, do not have the necessary opportunities for public self-presentation (the impersonaliat). It is shown that the emerging social relations are characterized by the main features of class antagonism: a) productive activity that goes beyond the capitalist mechanisms of accumulation and distribution turns into a massive competitive (and alienating) struggle for scarce goods and resources; b) there are a number of structural factors that contribute to significant inequality in the distribution of key scarce goods and resources; c) the new social reality is conditioned by the relations of exploitation.

social class; class analysis; Marxism; post-capitalism; class struggle; precariat; personaliat; social formations


Barabási A.-L. (2014) Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books.

Bradley S.W. et al. (2017) Experimental Evidence of Observed Social Media Status Cues on Perceived Likability. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Vol. 8. No. 1: 41–51. DOI: 10.1037/ppm0000164.

Buzgalin A.V., Kolganov A.I. (2019) Social Structure Transformation of Late Capitalism: from Proletariat and Bourgeoisie towards Precariat and Creative Class? Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 1: 18–28. DOI: 10.31857/S013216250003744-1. (In Russ.)

Davydov D.A. (2020) Revolution of Personality, or the Rise of Personaliat. Politiya [Politeia]. No. 4: 68–89. DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-99-4-68-89. (In Russ.)

Dean J. (2019) Communism or Neo-Feudalism? Logos. No. 6: 85–116. DOI: 10.22394/0869-5377-2019- 6-85-114. (In Russ.)

Florida R. (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic Books.

Frank R. (2019) Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Vysshey shkoly ekonomiki. (in Russ.)

Gladwell M. (2008) Outliers: The Story of Success. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Goodhart D. (2017) The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics. London: Hurst.

Gorz A. (2010) The Immaterial: Knowledge, Value and Capital. New York; London: Seagull Books.

Graeber D. (2018) Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Gross S.A., Musgrave G. (2020) Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition. London: University of Westminster Press.

Inglehart R. (2018) Cultural Evolution: People's Motivations are Changing, and Reshaping the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kondrashov P.N. (2020) Post-capitalism as a Social Inter/trans-formation. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 2: 150–159. DOI: 10.31857/S013216250008524-9. (In Russ.)

Kotkin J. (2020) The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. New York: Encounter Books.

Lee H.Y. et al. (2020) Getting Fewer “Likes” Than Others on Social Media Elicits Emotional Distress among Victimized Adolescents. Child Development. Vol. 91. No. 6: 1–19. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13422.

Lomborg B. (2020) False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. New York: Basic Books.

Markovits D. (2019) The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite. New York: Penguin Press.

Marwick A.E. (2013) Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age. London: Yale University Press.

Mason P. (2017) Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Nesi J., Prinstein M.J. (2015) Using Social Media for Social Comparison and Feedback-Seeking: Gender and Popularity Moderate Associations with Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Vol. 43. No. 8: 1427–1438. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-015-0020-0.

Sherman L.E. et al. (2016) The Power of the Like in Adolescence Effects of Peer Influence on Neural and Behavioral Responses to Social Media. Psychological Science. Vol. 27. No. 7: 1027–1035. DOI: 10.1177/0956797616645673.

Srnicek N., Williams A. (2016) Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. New York: Verso.

Standing G. (2011) The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Toshhenko Zh.T. (2018) Precariat: From Protoclass to a New Сlass. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russ.)

Van Parijs P., Vanderborght Y. (2019) Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Williams J.C. (2018) White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

Wright E.O. (2019) Foundations of Neo-Marxist Class Analysis. In: Wright E.O. (ed.) Approaches to Class Analysis. Kiev: IS NAN Ukrainy: 18–56. (In Russ.)

Zhu L., Lerman K. (2016) Attention Inequality in Social Media. Computer Science. URL: pdf/1601.07200.pdf (accessed 12.03.2021).

Content No 6, 2021