This essay concerns three decades of engagement with themes of labor and class in the pages of Social Text. It identifies common threads and describes dozens of variations that contributors made on these themes. The continuities include: social and cultural reproduction of class; race and class; gender and class; the state of the Left and the labor movement; working-class depictions in popular culture as well as in institutional discourses of business and government; commodification and class consciousness. Works also focused on new social movements, post-Fordist or postindustrial characteristics of the new international division of labor, deunionization, decline of the welfare state, industrial relocation, and working conditions in the global South. More recently, the journal made room for work on the impoverishment of the American middle class, on the worsening conditions of academic labor, and on theorizing “nonindustrial” informational work of symbol makers and symbol users (a.k.a. “immaterial labor,” “no-collar workers,” “knowledge workers,” “creative labor,” or “mental labor”).

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