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Julian Benda

“New Class” Thinking and Historiography

I am curious what our readers make of “new class” thinking. Is it a legitimate way of theorizing about the place of intellectuals in our postmodern, postindustrial society? Or is it anti-intellectual nonsense, an updated version of Julian Benda’s La Trahison des Clercs? In my research on the culture wars, I credit the popularization of “new class” thinking to the neoconservatives. Out of their political repositioning, they developed a critical theory about a so-called “new class” of intellectuals, broadly defined to include all professionals tasked with manipulating language—although more narrowly applied to humanists and social scientists. Most members of this Read more