In recent years, the concept of class has come under increasing scrutiny, as a means of explaining both the present and the past. The post-industrial class has superceded the manual working class, and new forms of industrial management have broken up more traditional hierarchies and outlooks. Furthermore, feminism has now brought into question the whole concept of a class identity. Can class viably explain the present? Did it ever provide an adequate explanation of the past? How did concepts of class develop? What is the language of class? A variety of writings are drawn upon here to suggest answers to these questions, to provide a balanced survey of thought on class, from Marx and Weber to the present day, and to look beyond this towards the very future of class.