The Revolt of the Masses (1929)
In The Revolt of the Masses, Ortega traces the genesis of the "mass-man" and analyzes his constitution, en route to describing the rise to power and action of the masses in society. Ortega is quite critical of both the masses and the mass-men of which they are made up, contrasting "noble life and common life" and excoriating the barbarism and primitivism he sees in the mass-man.
He does not, however, refer to specific social classes, as has been so commonly misunderstood in the English-speaking world. Ortega states that the mass-man could be from any social background, but his specific target is the bourgeois educated man, the señorito satisfecho (satisfied young man, or Mr. Satisfied), the specialist who believes he has it all and extends the command he has of his subject to others, contemptuous of his ignorance in all of them.
Ortega's summary of what he attempted in the book exemplifies this quite well, while simultaneously providing the author's own views on his work: "In this essay an attempt has been made to sketch a certain type of European, mainly by analyzing his behavior as regards the very civilization into which he was born". This had to be done because that individual "does not represent a new civilisation struggling with a previous one, but a mere negation ..."