While German theorist Karl Marx rarely used the term "class consciousness", he did make the distinction between "class in itself", which is defined as a category of people having a common relation to the means of production; and a "class for itself", which is defined as a stratum organized in active pursuit of its own interests.
What is understood as a “Social Mass”? It is, summarily, a term that describes any form of collective arrangement emanating and arising from certain Ideals which are thought, defined and imposed as taking precedence over the “individual”. A Social Mass, here, is a descriptor for the many social groups of unrelated people who are perceived as sharers of a set of core characteristics that they hold to be in some form integral to their definition as beings
Nature (the Art whereby God hath made and governes the World) is by the Art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an Artificial Animal… For by Art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMON-WEALTH, or STATE (in latine CIVITAS) which is but an Artificiall Man; though of greater stature and strength than the Naturall, for whose protection it was intended.
For instance, Schwitzgebel tries to demonstrate that a consistent materialism must grant consciousness to collective entities:
It would be bizarre to suppose that the United States has a stream of conscious experience distinct from the conscious experiences of the people who compose it...Yet it’s unclear by what materialist standard the United States lacks consciousness. Nations, it would seem, represent and self-represent. They respond (semi-) intelligently and self- protectively, in a coordinated way, to opportunities and threats. They gather, store, and manipulate information. They show skillful attunement to environmental inputs in warring and spying on each other. Their subparts (people and subgroups of people) are massively informationally interconnected and mutually dependent, including in incredibly fancy self-regulating feedback loops. These are the kinds of capacities and structures that materialists typically regard as the heart of mentality.
Scruton also notes that some corporate persons can be utterly malign, such as the Nazi and Communist parties. By my analogy, such corporate persons may be likened to damned and impenitent souls...A corporate person could instead be infallible, as Catholics claim the Church is. That doesn’t mean that the individual members cannot err, including the pope when he is not speaking ex cathedra. It means that the “mind of the Church” as a corporate person cannot fall into error, and the reason a pope cannot err when speaking ex cathedra is that in such an act he is giving definitive expression to the mind of the Church.
Scholars have long sought to understand the mechanisms by which groups of individuals accomplish collective action (1, 2, 26). This phenomenon has been studied in a variety of disciplines, from anthropology, social psychology, sociology, political science, management, communication studies, economics, animal behavior, and sociobiology, to computer science, statistical physics, and the emerging domain of computational social science (27⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓–35). These disciplines are largely differentiated by methods, scale of organization, and whether they study aspects of contemporary Homo sapiens society.