Geoff Eley and Keith Nield embrace an institutional perspective
à la Ira Katznelson, but they do so with a much stronger
emphasis on popular alliance formation and social movements than Katznelson.
Social history's role, in their vision, would consist of capturing the
dynamics of stability and change in densely and intensively studied local
contexts. It is the injustices embedded in such contexts that apparently feed
these movements and alliances. Class is thus reduced to a microheuristic of
hidden injuries and subaltern identities. However, the concept of social class
can only help to articulate a position beyond formal institutionalism and the
class language of bipolarity when it is wedded to a nonreductionist,
nonessentialist, and nonfinalist theory of capitalism. Seen from this
perspective, capitalism is a worldwide and world- embedded process of combined
and uneven development that constantly assembles and disassembles the materials
from which human communities are made. In short, if we want to rethink class in
place, we need to rethink capitalism in space.