Selected Published Writing

Books, Articles, Symposia & Debates


1. The Politics of Punishment:  A Critical Analysis of Prisons in America. New York:  Harper and Row and Harper Colophon Books, 1973.

2. Class, Crisis and the State, London:  New Left Books, 1978; Verso paperbacks, 1979. 

3. Class Structure and Income Determination, New York: Academic Press, 1979.

4. The Value Controversy, edited by Ian Steedman

5. Classes (London: Verso, 1985). Spanish translation, 1994.

6. The Debate on Classes (London: Verso, 1990)

7. Reconstructing Marxism: essays on Explanation and the Theory of History   (with Elliott Sober and Andrew Levine), Verso, 1992

8. Interrogating Inequality (London: Verso, 1994), Spanish translation, 2005

9. Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1997). Chinese Translation, 2004 (pdf not available)

10. Class Counts: student edition (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

11. Deepening Democracy: institutional innovations in empowered participatory governance (with Archon Fung), London: Verso: 2003. Spanish translation.

12. Approaches to Class Analysis, edited by Erik Olin Wright.  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

13. Envisioning Real Utopias. (London and New York: Verso, 2010)

14. American Society: How it Really Works (with Joel Rogers), New York: W.W. Norton, 2011 (pdf not available)

15. Alternatives to Capitalism, with Robin Hahnel) New York and London: Verso, 2016



The Politics of Punishment:

A Critical Analysis of Prisons in America

(Harper Colophon Books, 1973)


        Detailed Table of comments


        Part I. CRIME AND ITS PUNISHMENT, by Erik Olin Wright

            Chapter 1. The Meaning of Crime

            Chapter 2. The Punishment of Crime

            Chapter 3. The Rehabilitation Prison Model


            Chapter 4. General Features of San Quentin Prison

            Chapter 5. San Quentin Prison as seen by the prison officials

            Chapter 6. San Quentin Prison as seen by the prisoners

            Chapter 7. Liberal Totalitarianism in Prisons


            Chapter 8. The roots of violence at Soledad, by Frank Rundle

            Chapter 9. A Chronicle of three years in the hole, by Thomas Lopez Meneweather

            Chapter 10. The Soledad Seven: attempted murder in Monterrey, by Eve Pell

            Chapter 11. Violence and Lawlessness at Soledad, by Fay Stender


            Chapter 12. From Riot to Revolution, by John Pallas and Robert Barber

            Chapter 13. Prison reform through the legislature, by James F. Smith

            Chapter 14. Change through the courts, by Brian Glick

            Chapter 15. Prison reform and Radical Change, by Erik Olin Wright

        Author's note and About the Authors



Class, Crisis and the State

(Verso, 1978)


        Detailed Table of Contents

        Chapter 1. Methodological Introduction

        Chapter 2. The Class Structure of Advanced Capitalist Societies

        Chapter 3. Historical Transformations of Capitalist Crisis Tendencies

        Chapter 4. Bureaucracy and the State

        Chapter 5. Conclusion: Socialist Strategies and the State in Advanced Capitalist Societies

        Bibliography and Index



Class Structure and Income Determination

(Academic Press: 1979)


        Detailed Table of Contents

        Entire book (270 pages)



The Value Controversy,

edited by Ian Steedman

(Verso, 1981)


        The Value Controversy and Social Research, by Erik Olin Wright

        Critique of Wright 1. Labour and Profits, by Geoff Hodgson

        Critique of Wright 2. In Defense of a Post-Sraffian Approach, by Pradeep Bandyopadhyay

        Reconsiderations, by Erik Olin Wright



by Erik Olin Wright,

(Verso, 1985)



Detailed Table of Contents



Chapter  1. Posing the Problem: the Agenda of Class Analysis


Part One. Conceptual Issues

Chapter 2. The Biography of a Concept: contradictory class locations

Chapter 3. A General Framework for the Analysis of Class

Chapter 4. Implications and Elaborations of the General Framework


Part Two: Empirical Investigations

Chapter 5. Empirically Adjudicating Contending Class Definitions

Chapter 6. Class Structure in Contemporary Capitalism

Chapter 7. Class Structure and Class Consciousness in Contemporary Capitalist Society







The Debate on Classes

by Erik Olin Wright,

and other contributors

(Verso, 1989)



Detailed Table of Contents and Preface

Chapter 1. A General Framework for the Analysis of Class Structure

Chapter 2. Exchange on Classes, a discussion between Erik Olin Wright and Michael Burawoy

Chapter 3. Classes and Class Analysis, by G. Carchedi

Chapter 4. Class Theory: Still the Axis of Critical Social Scientific Analysis? by Uwe Becker

Chapter 5. Symposium on Classes, papers by Val Burris, Arthur Stinchcombe, Peter Meiksins, Johanna Brenner, and Erik Olin Wright

Chapter 6. A Revolution in Class Theory, by Philippe Van Parijs

Chapter 7. Constructing the (W)right Classes, by David Rose and Gordon Marshall

Chapter 8. Rethinking, Once Again, the Concept of Class Structure, by Erik Olin Wright




Reconstructing Marxism: essays on Explanation and the Theory of History, by Erik Olin Wright, Andrew Levine and Elliott Sober

 (Verso, 1992)


Preface and Table of Contents

    1. Marxism: Crisis or Renewal


    2. Classical Historical Materialism

    3. What is Historical about Historical Materialism?

    4. Historical Trajectories

    5. Towards a Reconstructed Historical Materialism


    6. Marxism and Methodological Individualism

    7. Causal Asymmetries


    8.  Prospects for the Marxist Agenda

Bibliography and Index



Interrogating Inequality: essays on class analysis, socialism and Marxism

(Verso, 1994)    



        Prologue: Falling into Marxism; Choosing to Stay

        Introduction to Part I. Class Analysis

            Chapter 1.   Inequality

            Chapter 2.   The Class Analysis of Poverty

            Chapter 3.   The status of the political in the concept of class structure

            Chapter 4.   Coercion and Consent in Contested Exchange (with Michael Burawoy)

            Chapter 5.   Class and Politics

        Introduction to Part II: Socialism

            Chapter 6.   Capitalism's Futures: a reconceptualization of post-capitalist modes of production

            Chapter 7.   Why something like socialism is necessary for the transition to something like communism

        Introduction to Part III: Marxism

            Chapter 8.   What is Analytical Marxism?

            Chapter 9.   Marxism as Social Science

            Chapter 10. Explanation and Emancipation in Marxism and Feminism

            Chapter 11. Marxism after Communism



Class Counts: comparative studies in class analysis

(Cambridge University Press, 1997)


(Student edition, 2000)


        Chapters from the Student edition, 2000

        Table of Contents

        Chapter 1.   Class Analysis      

        Chapter 2.  Class Structure

        Chapter 3.  The Transformation of the American Class Structure, 1960-1990

        Chapter 4.  The fall and rise of the American Petty Bourgeoisie

        Chapter 5.  The Permeability of Class Boundaries

        Chapter 6.   Conceptualizing the interaction of class and gender

        Chapter 7.   Individuals, families and class analysis

        Chapter 8.   The noneffects of class on the gendered division of labor

        Chapter 9.   The gender gap in workplace authority

        Chapter 10. A general framework for studying class consciousness and class formation

        Chapter 11. Class consciousness and class formation in Sweden, the United States and Japan

        Chapter 12. Conclusion: confirmations, surprises, and theoretical reconstructions



       Some materials from the full edition, 1997, that were not in the student edition

        Full version of chapter 1. Class Analysis

        Methodological Appendix to chapter 2

        Chapter 15 (deleted from student edition). Class, state employment and consciousness



Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance,

by Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright,

with contributions by Rebecca Abers Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Joshua Cohen, Patrick Heller, Bradley Karkkainen, Rebecca Krantz, Jane Mansbridge, Joel Rogers, Craig Thomas, and T.M. Thomas Isaac

(Verso, 2003)


Table of Contents


Part I. Introduction

    Chapter 1. Thinking about Empowered Participatory Governance, by Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright

Part II. Case Studies (chapter 2-5)

Part III. Commentaries (chapter 6-10)

Part IV. Epilogue

    Chapter 11. Countervailing Power in empowered Participatory Governance, by Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright

References and Index


Spanish Language version:

Democracia en Profundidad: Nuevas formas institucionales de gobierno participativo con poder de decisión


Capítulo  1

Capítulo  2

Capítulo  3

Capítulo  4

Capítulo  5

Capítulo  6

Capítulo  7

Capítulo  8

Capítulo  9

Capítulo  10

Capítulo  11


Approaches to Class Analysis (final manuscript draft: January 2004).  Cambridge University Press: 2005
Edited by Erik Olin Wright, with contributions by Erik Olin Wright, Richard Breen, David Grusky, Elliott Weininger, Aage Sorensen and Jan Pakulski

                    Table of Contents     

                    Introduction  by Erik Olin Wright
Chapter 1    Foundations of a neo-Marxist Class Analysis by Erik Olin Wright
Chapter 2    Foundations of a neo-Weberian Class Analysis by Richard Breen
Chapter 3    Foundations of a neo-Durkheimian class analysis by David Grusky with collaboration by Gabriela Galescu
Chapter 4    Foundations of Bourdieu’s Class Analysis by Elliott Weininger
Chapter 5    Foundations of a Rent-based class analysis by Aage Sørensen
Chapter 6    Foundations of a Post-Class analysis by Jan Pakulski     
                   Conclusion  by Erik Olin Wright
Romanian translation of chapter 6:   
Indonesian translation of chapter 1:

   Envisioning Real Utopias (London and New York: Verso, 2010)


Contents and Preface


Chapter 1     Introduction: Why Real Utopias?

Chapter 2     The Tasks of Emancipatory Social Science

Part I. Diagnosis and Critique

Chapter 3     What’s so Bad about Capitalism?


Part II. Alternatives

Chapter 4      Thinking about Alternatives to Capitalism

Chapter 5      The Socialist Compass    

Chapter 6      Real Utopias I: Social Empowerment and the State    

Chapter 7      Real Utopias II: Social Empowerment and the Economy


Part III. Transformation

Chapter 8      Elements of a Theory of Transformation

Chapter 9      Ruptural Transformation

Chapter 10    Interstitial Transformation

Chapter 11    Symbiotic Transformation


Conclusion     Making Utopias Real

Bibliography and Index




      Alternatives to Capitalism: proposals for a democratic economy.

      by Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright (New Left Project, 2014)



pdf of manuscript



Spanish language Translations

Clase, Crisis, y Estado (Siglio XXI, 1983)

Clases (Siglio XXI, 1985)  Part 1 (pp. 1-152) Part 2. (pp. 152-375)

Reflecxiones sobre Socialismo, Capitalismo y Marxismo (Collectio Contextos, 1997)

"Reflexionando, una vez mas, sobre el concepto de estructura de clases" Zona Abierto 59/60 (1992)



"Analysis of the Total Number of Twists resulting from Cutting any Order Moebius Bands With any Number of Cuts," Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, vol. 67, No. 2, 1964

 “Recent Developments on Marxist Theories of the State”, by David Gold, Clarence Lo and Erik Olin Wright. Monthly Review, October and November, 1975.

"Class Boundaries in Advanced Capitalist Societies," New Left Review, Number 98, 1976, pp. 3-41

"Marxist Class Categories and Income Inequality," (with Luca Perrone), American Sociological Review, vol. 42:1, 1977, pp. 32-55

"Race, Class, and Income Inequality," American Journal of Sociology, vol. 85:6, 1978

"Varieties of Marxist Conceptions of Class Structure," Politics & Society, vol 9, no.3 (1980): 323-70

"Positional Power and Propensity to Strike", by Luca Perrone (edited by Erik Olin Wright), Politics & Society, No. 12:2 (1983): 231-61

"Inequality", in The New Palgrave, ed. by John Eatwell (London: Macmillan, 1987)

"Falling Into Marxism, Choosing to Stay," Mid-American Review of Sociology, 1991. Vol. XV, No.2:1-14

The Continuing Relevance of Class Analysis”, Theory and Society. 1996. 25:693-716

Reflections on Classes” (an exchange with Michael Burawoy), section 3 in the Debate on Classes (Verso, 1989), pp. 77-104.

"Review of Peter Evans, Embedded Autonomy." Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 25, No. 2. (Mar., 1996), pp. 176-179.

Working-Class Power, Capitalist-Class Interests, and Class Compromise,” American Journal of Sociology, Volume 105 Number 4 (January 2000): 957–1002

Class, Exploitation, and Economic Rents: Reflections on Sorenson's "Sounder Basis" American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 105, No. 6 (May 2000), pp. 1559-1571

The Glass Ceiling Hypothesis: a comparative study of United States, Sweden and Australia,” (with Janeen Baxter)  Gender & Society, 14:2, pp. 275-94, April 2000

Metatheoretical foundations of Charles Tilly's Durable Inequality, Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol 42:3, April 2000. pp. 458-474

Sociological Marxism, with Michael Burawoy, in Handbook of Sociological Theory  (ed by Jonathan Turner, Plenum Press, 2001)

The Shadow of Exploitation in Weber's Class AnalysisAmerican Sociological Review 2002, Vol. 67, December:832–853 (Final page proofs for published version, December 2002)

Complex Egalitarianism” (with Harry Brighouse), Historical Materialism, 2002. vol. 10:1 (193-222)

The patterns of job expansions in the USA: a comparison of the 1960s and 1990s” (with Rachel Dwyer) Socioeconomic Review 2003 1: 289-325.

 Appendix to "The Patterns of Job Expansions in the United States:  a comparison of the 1960s and 1990s, by Erik Olin Wright and Rachel Dwyer (full paper published in The Socio-Economic Review)

Beneficial Constraints: beneficial for whom? Socio-economic Review 2004 2:461-467

Class”, in International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, edited by Jens Beckert and Milan Zafirovsky (Routledge, 2006), pp. 62-68

Basic Income as a Socialist Project, Rutgers Journal of Law & Urban Policy Vol. 2,  Fall 2005, No.1

Falling into Marxism, Choosing to stay, The Disobedient Generation: social theorists in the 1960s, edited by Alan Sica and Stephen Turner (University of Chicago Press, 2006)

"Two Redistributive Proposals -- universal basic income and stakeholder grants", Focus (volume 24, No. 2), 2006

"Compass Points: towards a socialist alternative", New Left Review 41 September-October, 2006, pp. 93-124

"LOS PUNTOS DE LA BRÚJULA: hacia una alternativa socialista"  Spanish translation of "Compass Points"

"En quête d'une boussole de l’émancipation. Vers une alternative socialiste", French translation of "Compass Points", Contretemps, 2011

"Imaginando Utopías Reales", lecture at the University of Buenos Aires, 2007

"Guidelines for Envisioning Real Utopias”, Soundings: a journal of politics and culture, 36: summer 2007, pp. 26-39

"Sociologists and Economists on 'The Commons'", in The Contested Commons edited by Pranhab Bardhan and Isha Ray (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), pp. 234-238

"Entrevista: Erik Olin Wright e Michael Burawoy" by Ruy Braga e Alvaro Bianchi (Portuguese)  in CULT #122, 2008 (English translation)

"Strong Gender Egalitarianism," by Harry Brighouse and Erik Olin Wright, chapter 3 in Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers, Gender Equality: transforming divisions of labor in the family, vol,. VI in the Real Utopias Project (London and New York: Verso, 2009)

"Understanding Class: toward an integrated analytical approach",  New Left Review, 60, November-December 2009

"The Triadic model of Society in Somers' Genealogies of Citizenship" Socio-economic Review (2011) 9: 405-418. [Version in Trajectories vol 22:2, Spring 2011]

Real Utopias,” Contexts, Spring, 2011

"The Wisconsin Protests" (English original of article translated into German, published in journal of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, 2011)

"In defense of Genderlessness", in Axel Grosseries and Yannick Vanderborght (eds), Arguing about justice: essays for Philippe van Parijs (Presses Universitaires de Louvain, 2011), pp. 403-413)

"Real Utopias in and beyond Capitalism: taking the social in socialism seriously,"  Fifth Annual Nicos Poulantzas Memorial Lecture (Athens, Greece: Nissos, Nicos Poulantzas Institute, 2012)

1.       Taking the social in socialism seriously”, Socio-economic Review, 2012. 10:286-402

"Class Struggle and Class Compromise in the Era of Stagnation and Crisis", Transform!  European journal for alternative thinking and political dialogue, 11/2012, pp. 22-44

"Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias," American Sociological review, February, 2013

"Class and Inequality in Piketty," Contexts, Winter 2015

"Eroding Capitalism: A Comment on Stuart White's ‘Basic Capital in the Egalitarian Toolkit”, Journal of Applied Philosophy. November 2015, Volume 32, issue 4, pp. 432-439

Is the Precariat a Class? Global Labor Journal, vo. 7, No 2, pp. 123-135. 2016

"Sociological limitations of the climate change encyclical", Nature climate Change, vol. 5, October 2015

"How to be an Anticapitalist Today", Jacobin, December, 2015.

How to Think About (and Win) Socialism." Jacobin (on line). 4.27.16.

Two approaches to inequality and their normative implications.” Items: insights from the Social sciences. SSRC. July, 2016.

"Real Utopias and the Dilemmas of Institutional Transformation," Justice, Power and Resistance, vol. 1, No.1, 2016, pp. 33-52.

"The Capitalist State and the Possibility of Socialism," in Gunnar Olofsson and Sven Hort (eds). Class, Sex and Revolutions: Goran Therborn -- A critical apprasal (Stockholm, Arkiv forlad: 2016)


Discussion Forum on Erik Olin Wright’s Envisioning Real Utopias, Socio-economic Review, 2012. 10: 369-402

Marion Fourcade, “The socialization of capitalism or the neoliberalization of socialism?”, pp. 369-75

Dylan Riley, Neo-Tocquevillian Marxism: Erik Olin Wright’s Real Utopias” pp. 375-81

Cihuan Tugal, “Intermittent revolution: the road to a hybrid socialism”, pp. 382-6

Erik Olin Wright, “Taking the social in socialism seriously”, p. 286-402

"Engaging Emancipatory Social Science and Social Theory: a Symposium on Erik Olin Wright’s Envisioning Real Utopias,” edited by Thad Williamson, New Political science, Vol. 34:2, August, 2012.

Thad Williamson, “Emancipatory Politics, Emancipatory Political Science: on Erik Olin Wright’s Envisioning Real Utopias.”

Craig Borowiak, “Scaling Up Utopias: E.O. Wright and the Search for Economic Alternatives”

J.S. Maloy, “Real Utopias in a Gilder Age: the case of American Populism”

Gar Alperowitz, et. Al., “Building Real Utopias: the emerging project of evolutionary reconstruction.”

Erik Olin Wright, “Reply to Comments on Envisioning Real Utopias”