The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq
Princeton University Press
It has often been maintained that the classic sociological class analysis-an analysis that draws essentially upon the insights of Karl Marx and Max Weber-is inapplicable to Arab societies, or that in Arab societies there are no such things as "classes." This is a generalization apart from the evidence, at least as far as post-World War I Arab societies are concerned. Obviously, an attitude one way or the other on this question cannot be taken in the absence of specialized factual studies on modern Arab social structures. To reject class analysis out of hand, merely on account of contingent ideological associations, is, from a scholarly point of view, inadmissible.
It is necessary to underline at once the tentative nature of the present inquiry. A concrete analysis of classes is an extremely difficult undertaking. It presupposes, on the one hand, a grasp of the objective tendencies and constraints of the social structure or structures of which the classes are integral parts; and, on the other hand, the mastery of a wealth of details, especially as regards economically and politically effective individuals and families and their interrelationships, details that are seldom within easy reach.