The primary purpose of this chapter is to identify structural features of class relations in capitalism and consider empirical profiles of class positions in advanced capitalist societies. This analysis will provide a basic context for proceeding to the systematic examination of current subjective orientations toward educational issues among people in specific objective circumstances. First, the historical basis for the existence of classes is discussed, especially in relation to the development of material production. Then, the advanced capitalist societies are situated within the contemporary world capitalist economy. The main class positions in advanced capitalist production relations are then identified, empirical comparisons are made of the class structures of the major industrial market economies, and the particular development of the Canadian class structure is briefly reviewed. Next, classes are considered more inclusively as social circles which are constituted outside production relations as well, and which involve both core and peripheral positions; data from my Ontario studies are used to illustrate these associations. Finally, the relationship between class position and level of schooling is examined and possible implications for differential support of the established form of schooling are suggested.