Exploring Socialisation, Culture & Identity: Unit G671 <br />Social Class Identities <br />SOW<br />Key Concepts <br />Social Class <br />Identity <br />Culture <br />Upper Class <br />Middle Class <br />Traditional Working Class <br />New Working Class <br />Underclass <br />Marxism <br />Functionalism <br />Feminism <br />Postmodernism <br />Social Action Theory <br />Social Action <br />Social Structure <br />Social Mobility <br />Social Hierarchy <br />Social Stratification <br />Upward Social Mobility <br />Downward Social Mobility <br />Achieved Status<br />Ascribed Status <br />Alienation <br />Collective Consciousness<br />Mass/Popular Culture<br />Consensus <br />Conflict <br />Capital<br />Capitalism<br />Economic Capital <br />Social Capital <br />Human Capital <br />Hegemony <br />Ideology <br />Heterogeneous <br />Homogeneous <br />Labelling <br />Lads <br />Ladettes <br />Marginalisation<br />Modernity <br />Postmodernity <br />Objective <br />Subjective <br />Opium of the People <br />Oppression<br />Crisis of Masculinity <br />Poverty/Social Exclusion <br />Meritocracy <br />Conspicuous Consumption <br />White-Collar Worker <br />Blue-Collar Worker <br />Classlessness <br />Norms <br />Values <br />Roles <br />Child Centredness <br />Professionals <br />Managers <br />Entrepreneurs <br />New Technology Workers <br />Self-Employed <br />Manual Labour <br />Non-Manual Labour <br />Super Rich <br />Landed Aristocracy<br />Jet-Set Rich <br />Wealth<br />Income<br />Welfare State <br />Tax<br />Benefits <br />Old/New Labour Party<br />Conservative Party <br />Liberal Democrats <br />Trade Unions <br />Socialism<br />Comunism <br />Infrastructure <br />Superstructure <br />Ideological apparatus <br />Social Closure <br />Old/New Money<br />Instrumentalism <br />Privatised<br />Individualised <br />Community<br />What is Social Class? <br />Task: <br />What social class would you place each of the people you see below?<br />What indicators (i.e. pointers) did you use to place people in a social class?<br />Write a description of one of the people below and outline what their lives would be like!<br />Watch a Children's Guide to Growing Up: Social Class System <br />http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Children's+Guide+to+Growing+Up:+Social+Class+System&aq=f<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />Definitions & Measurements of Social Class<br />Before we can fully explore social class as a form of identity, we must consider the definition and measurement of social class. There is confusion created by the use of different criteria that causes problems with consistency and comparison. <br />Objective<br />Objective social class is based upon the idea that people can be placed in a social class through the use of a scale and measurement device. The government now use the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification, which creates 8 different classes based upon type of occupation/income<br />The NS-SEC Scale <br />http://www.ons.gov.uk/about-statistics/classifications/current/soc2010/soc2010-volume-3-ns-sec--rebased-on-soc2010--user-manual/index.html<br />Eight classes?Five classes?Three classes?1. Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations1. Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations1. Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations1.1 Large employers and higher managerial and administrative occupations1.2 Higher professional occupations2. Lower managerial, administrative and professional occupations3. Intermediate occupations2. Intermediate occupations2. Intermediate occupations 4. Small employers and own account workers3. Small employers and own account workers5. Lower supervisory and technical occupations4. Lower supervisory and technical occupations3. Routine and manual occupations 6. Semi-routine occupations5. Semi-routine and routine occupations7. Routine occupations8. Never worked and long-term unemployed*Never worked and long-term unemployed*Never worked and long-term unemployed<br />Task:<br />
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this scale as a measurement of social class?
How many social classes are there?
What % of the UK makes up each social class group
Subjective <br />Subjective social class differs in that it is based upon what people think they are themselves. This may be based upon occupation but may also be based upon a number of other factors i.e. housing, health, education, consumption etc… What social class do you think that you are? <br />Task:<br />
Answer the questionnaires below
Create a list of different subjective factors/indicators that categorise people into different social classes!
What class are you? – Tongue-in-cheek quiz<br /> The sore questions of class are in the air again. Was Kate Middleton just too middle class for Prince William? Must the future Queen of England only be upper class? And just how easy is it to tell a person's class?<br />According to Daily Telegraph letter writer Andrew Baxter, you can tell instantly the class of people by using the car test: <br />"A couple taking another couple out for a drive would sit themselves thus: working class, men in the front. Middle class, man with his own partner in the front. Upper class, man with the other partner in the front"<br />So which class are you? Settle the matter once and for all with a tongue-in-cheek quiz... <br />
Has your house got:
A name and number?
A name of your choosing?
A name from time immemorial?
Sitting over drinks, do you:
Say "Cheers" and clink glasses?
Are you more likely to take a seaside holiday in:
Would you follow the hunt:
At a distance by car?
With an anti-hunt placard?
On your own horse?
At breakfast do you like:
Have you got:
At your children's weddings, will male guests wear:
Do you ask for the:
Do you send your children to:
An old public school?
A church school near which you have moved?
The local school?
After dinner, do you:
Leave your napkin loosely on the table?
Fold your napkin neatly?
Roll your napkin and put it in a ring?
Do your children have:
If you can't hear a remark, do you say:
If you want butter with your roll at dinner, do you:
Cut it in half and butter it?
Break it in half and butter it?
Break it up and butter bits as you eat them?
Would you prefer to read:
The World of Interiors?
Do you associate Jordan with:
THE ANSWERS<br />1 a 10, b 20, c 30; 2 a 20, b 10, c 30; 3 a 10, b 30, c 20; 4 a 10, b 20, c 30; 5 a 20, b 10, c 30; 6 a 20, b 10, c 30; 7 a 30, b 10, c 20; 8 a 30, b 20, c 10; 9 a 30, b 20, c 10; 10 a 30, b 10, c 20; 11 a 10, b 30, c 20; 12 a 30, b 10, c 20; 13 a 10, b 20, c 30; 14 a 10, b 30, c 20; 15 a 20, b 30, c 10.<br />If you scored: Below 200 – You are cheerfully lower-class; 200 to 300 – You are uneasily middle-class;<br />300 to 440 – You probably have a coat of arms; 450 – You are the Duke of Devonshire.<br />Try another one… <br />In the morning you are awoken by the gentle strains of: <br />
Radio 4's John Humphrys and Jim Naughtie talking about Jordan's politics. (10)
Radio 1's Chris Moyles raving about Jordan's knockers. (5)
James, your valet, murmuring a gentle reminder that Jordan's King, Abdullah II, may be dropping by for dinner. (15)
At breakfast you prefer:
India tea, freshly squeezed orange juice, then some kedgeree washed down with a spot of fizz. (15)
Warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh fruit, decaffeinated coffee, organic wholemeal porridge. (10)
Sunny Delight, Pop-Tarts, Coco Pops and a bowl of Sugar Puffs sprinkled with sugar substitute. (5)
You prefer to answer the call of nature in a:
At home, the central heating is:
The latest eco-friendly design with thermostatic controls which maximise fuel efficiency. (10)
Usually on full blast. (5)
Never turned on until the frosts in December. (15)
Your perfect pair of earrings are:
Big-hooped golden ones from somewhere mega-posh like Gucci. (5)
Chic, crafty ones from somewhere hip and recherche. (10)
Old, diamond ones from the family safe. (15)
Your most oft-repeated catchphrase on your first job was:
'Doors to manual', as an air stewardess.(10)
'Salt 'n' vinegar?' behind the bar at the Dog And Duck.(5)
'No, sorry, can't, that's when Torty and I have our ski break,' as a chalet girl in Klosters. (15)
How many TVs do you own?
A crusty old black-and-white number, bought as a novelty item shortly after John Logie Baird invented it. (15)
One in the sitting room, one in our bedroom, and one for the au pair. Milo keeps nagging us to get one for his room but he'll have to wait until he's 16 - screens do play havoc with a child's reading development. (10)
Er, how many rooms have we got, 'Chelle? Is it ten or 11? Eleven then. Unless you count the new ones we've had put into the back of our car seats, so the kids can stay happy on car journeys. (5)
You refer to your grandmother as:
Tootles/MinMin/Gaia/Toto/ whatever eccentric agenon-specific nickname the old girl prefers: it's not too late, after all, for her to change the inheritance. (15)
You sleep with:
Lead-paned windows wide open even when there's a blizzard outside. (15)
UPVC windows tight shut and the electric blanket on. (5)
Newly installed sash windows, opened two inches, with a burglar lock. (10)
Your culinary role model is:
Jamie Oliver (10)
Mrs Beeton (15)
Colonel Sanders (5)
Your dog is:
Your best friend; marvellous with the kids too. (10)
Damned fine at retrieving fallen grouse, almost as good as the last one you unfortunately had to shoot because it was worrying sheep on the estate. (15)
A Staffy called Tyson, and I shouldn't get any closer mate. He'll 'ave your arm off. (5)
Your favourite wine is:
That claret Daddy laid down, now what is its name? Cheval-Blanc '47, or some such. Not that one cares - it's all bloody alcohol isn't it? (15)
Chardonnay. What's good enough for Coleen is good enough for me. (5)
That rather presumptuous Riesling we picked up in Waitrose last week, with a zingy apple nose and the faint notes of tar, yam and slightly overripe lychee. (10)
A marvellous avocado dip, which goes perfectly with tortilla chips. (10)
Frightful stuff. Can nobody run to caviar these days? (15)
Terrible place, where the Americans keep them poor orange prisoners locked up. (5)
Your children are called:
Shane, Jordan, Chevelle and Shareen. (5)
Milo, Jack, Zac and Poppy. (10)
Harriet, Emily, Freddie and Xan. (15)
You dress your salads with:
Cold-pressed single estate from Henry and Annabelle's place in Tuscany: £50 a bottle if one ever had to pay for such things. (15)
Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Italian Extra Virgin Oil. Bit pricey but you really can taste the difference. (10)
Salad cream. Obviously. (5)
The carpets in your house are:
Replaced by natural oak flooring. (10)
When travelling by car with another couple, what would the seating arrangements be?
Two men in front. (5)
Man with his own partner in front. (10)
Man with the other partner in front. (15)
At Christmas you spend roughly how much on each of your children?
Less than £50. (15)
Between £50 and £150. (10)
More than £150. Spending on the kiddies. It's what Christmas is all about. (5)
Your house was built in:
The 1990s. (5)
The 1890s. (10)
1790s? 1590s? 1190s? Depends which wing you mean. (15)
There is egg on your chin. Do you wipe it off with:
A serviette? (10)
A napkin? (15)
The back of your sleeve? (5)
You will be spending this August:
First on the estate in Scotland; then at the house we always take in Rock: the boys do so love the surfing in Polzeath, and Rick Stein's is just a ferry ride across the estuary. (15)
Magaluf; Benidorm; San Antonio in Ibiza - anywhere they do proper fish 'n' chips and English lager. (5)
Well they do say Croatia's on the up-and-up, though I do worry there might not be enough art galleries for Jonquil and Tarquin. (10)
Your idea of a perfect evening's family entertainment is:
Trivial Pursuit. (10)
Everyone on the sofa with their own PSP (PlayStation Portable). (5)
So how did you do?<br />
100 to 125 - You are a fearful oik. The closest you can ever hope of getting to Posh is if one of your children marries into the Beckham family.
130 to 170 - You are lower-middle class. You dream of higher things but you're trying too hard. Maybe you think fish knives are smart (they're not) and you probably pronounce the letter aitch as 'haitch'. Give up now.
175 to 235 - You are desperately upper-middle class. You fret far too much about everything (global warming, your children's manners, how to cook perfect polenta). You are doomed to be sneered at as a poncey imbecile by the lower orders and despised as an incorrigible bourgeois by your social superiors.
250 to 300 - You live in a damp, unheated house. You live like a savage. You are quite possibly the victim of centuries of inbreeding. You are upper class and the perfect match for Wills and Harry.
MORE than 300 - You are hopelessly, irredeemably upper class. Even the vulgar, arriviste Windsor family are too common for you. More likely, you are a huge cheat and a ghastly social climber who looked up all the right answers.
Try out these other great social class tests: <br />
Do the different ways of determining social class provide you with the same answer i.e. reliability?
Which type of definition, measurement and categorization of social class do you think is more accurate/valid i.e. objective, subjective or both?
Functionalism – Consensus <br />
Functionalists say that the social class system helps society to run smoothly
Society is a meritocracy (i.e. the most able people rise to the top)
Fundamental is the strong belief that the class system enables each individual to find their right place and role in society (i.e. in the division of labour)
The most important positions in society must be filled by the brightest and most able people.
According to functionalism, the people who do well in terms of the common values of society will be at the top of the stratification system.
High status, power and high income are rewards for conforming to society's values.
Most people don't object to people in powerful positions getting extra status and rewards. According to functionalists, this shows that they support the values which underpin the system.
Parsons (1964) established the functionalist position:<br />
Stratification unites people because it derives from shared values.
All societies as have a value consensus i.e. a general agreement about what is desirable and valuable (or undesirable and valueless). Whatever these values, individuals will be ranked in accordance with them.
Stratification is inevitable and useful as all societies have some values and will make judgments.
He argued that stratification systems evaluate individuals in terms of common social values – high status is a reward for conforming to society’s values
In complex industrial societies, planning and organization require some individuals to have more authority than others.
In Parsons' view, stratification reinforces the collective goals of society and establishes order
Davis and Moore (1945)<br />
Stratification has the function of role allocation. It makes sure the most able and talented do the most important jobs. Some jobs are more functionally important and some people have more ability than others.
Inequality in reward (pay) and status are essential to motivate the best individuals to take on the most important roles and jobs. These roles usually require long periods of training. High rewards compensate people for spending a long time in education and training. This process is inevitable, universal (found in all societies) and beneficial because it helps society to function better. The better-rewarded will form a higher stratum.
Evaluation <br />
Critics argue that many values are not shared and that stratification can be highly divisive
Many low-paid and even unskilled jobs are just as vital as higher-paid or more skilled jobs
There is a greater pool of talent than Davis & Moore assume
Training is a pleasant experience and does not require extra rewards to persuade people to undertake it
Stratification systems can demotivate those at the bottom.
Stratification systems do not provide equality of opportunity and tend to prevent those from lower strata achieving their potential
Stratification systems encourage 'hostility, suspicion and distrust'
New Right/Market Liberal sociologists (e.g. Saunders 1990) support Functionalist theory – society is meritocratic and based upon ‘legal equality’ and ‘equality of opportunity’ (i.e. equal chances)… but reject Marxist notions of ‘equality of outcome’ (i.e. Everyone is equal)
Marxism - Conflict <br />
Western society has developed through 4 major epochs: 1 – Primitive Communism; 2 – Ancient Society; 3 – Feudal Society; 4 Capitalist Society (i.e. which is what exists today)
In Marx's theories, stratification is a key aspect of the capitalist system. All stratified societies have two major classes: a ruling class and a subject class (i.e. master/slave dialectic)
The ruling class owns the means of production (land, capital, machinery etc.) and the subject class does not. The ruling class exploits the subject class.
The ruling class uses the superstructure (for example, legal and political systems) to legitimate (justify) its position and prevent protests by the subject class.
In capitalist societies the main classes are the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class that owns the main means of production: capital) and the proletariat (the working class that has to sell its labour to survive).
The bourgeoisie exploits the working class through the system of wage labour. Capitalists pay wages to workers, but make a (surplus value) because they pay workers less than the value of what they produce.
Capitalism is the newest type of class society but it will also be the last. Eventually it will be replaced by a communist society in which the means of production (land, capital, factories, machinery etc.) will be communally owned.
The transition to communism will not be straightforward because it requires revolutionary action by the proletariat. However, the bourgeoisie uses the superstructure (for example: the media, education system, and political and legal systems) to suppress the proletariat by creating false consciousness (which means that workers do not realize that they are being exploited). Eventually, though, class consciousness will develop - workers will realize that they are being exploited and will rise up to change society.
Class consciousness develops for the following reasons: <br />
There is a basic contradiction in capitalist societies between the interests of workers and capitalists.
Workers will become concentrated in large factories, making it easier to communicate with one another and organize resistance.
Workers' wages will decline in relation to the growing wealth of capitalists, in order to maintain profits. There will be a polarization of classes, with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer, making inequalities more obvious.
Skill divisions between workers will be reduced as new technology is introduced, resulting in a more homogeneous and united working class.
The petty bourgeoisie (small capitalists such as shopkeepers) will be unable to compete and will sink into the proletariat.
Capitalist economies are unstable, and economic crises and periods of high unemployment will cause growing resentment.
Workers will join together to form unions, political parties and revolutionary movements as class consciousness grows, enabling them to overthrow capitalism and replace it with communism.
The idea of false class consciousness have been undermined by studies that look at working class thoughts on social class i.e. Marshall et al (1988) & the Social Attitudes Survey vs. Charlesworth (1999)
Marxists presents an over socialized picture of society. They ignore individual freedom; people choose, they are not ideologically ‘brainwashed’. Some oppositional working class counter cultures resist but are pacified and assimilated in adulthood
Too much focus on conflict i.e. living standards for all have increased
Economic reductionist i.e. they explain all culture in relation to social class, ignoring gender, age, ethnicity etc…
Where is this so-called proletariat revolution that will lead us to a communist utopia i.e. Revolutions only really occurred in the east e.g. Soviet Union & China where it collapsed it the wake of a capitalist world
The working class has fragmented, not homogenized
Marx’s 2 classes did not become polarized i.e. the middle-class grew into a substantial class i.e. power & status
Neo-Marxism <br />
Neo-Marxism arose as a result of Marxist theory. They use Marxist theory as the main foundation of their work but have developed a distinct approach/set of ideas of their own (i.e. rejection or improvement).
They focus more upon the cultural and the ideological rather than the economic as an explanation for the continued exploitation of the proletariat (i.e. masses) and the failed long promised revolution. This means that they focus on the superstructure rather than the infrastructure.
Ideology, transmitted through culture tricks the masses into acceptance that everything is just fine
Antonio Gramsci (1971): Capitalism creates a dominant (hegemonic) culture
Althusser (1971): Meritocracy is a myth. The masses blame themselves for failure even though education is a bourgeois production unfairly reproducing social inequality
The Frankfurt School:
The mass media transmit capitalist ideology. Mass culture destroys community, individuality and free though but encourages acceptance of authority
False needs are created through advertising so that the masses obsessively desire things i.e. commodity fetishism, (similar to religion)
Capital – Class as Culture: Pierre Bourdieu (1979) <br />Unlike Marxist and Weberian sociologists, Pierre Bourdieu attaches as much importance to the cultural aspects of class as he does to the economic aspects. In his most influential work on class, Distinction, Bourdieu systematically analyses the differences in culture and lifestyle between classes in France (Bourdieu, 1984, first published in French, 1979). However, Bourdieu does not see culture and lifestyle simply as products of economic differences. Culture and lifestyle can themselves shape chances of upward social mobility and becoming better off. Bourdieu argues that there are four main sources of capital in society. <br />
Economic capital consists of material goods – wealth in such forms as shares, land or property, and income from employment and other sources. Wealth can be passed on quite easily through gifts or inheritance from parents to children.
Cultural capital can take a number of forms. First, it includes educational qualifications. Second, it includes a knowledge and understanding of creative and artistic aspects of culture, such as music, drama, art and cinema. In this artistic sense of culture, Bourdieu distinguishes different levels of cultural capital.
The highest level is what he calls legitimate culture. This is the culture of the dominant classes in society. It involves an appreciation of works of art in fields such as music and painting, which are considered to be the height of good taste. For example, Bourdieu puts the paintings of Brueghel and Goya in this category. Legitimate culture tends to be appreciated by those with the highest educational qualifications.
Middlebrow culture includes 'the minor work of the major arts'. They are generally accepted as having artistic merit, but are seen as less serious or worthy than legitimate culture. They are popular in the middle classes. Bourdieu gives the example of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.
Popular taste is the lowest form of culture. In music, for example, it includes songs 'totally devoid of artistic ambition or pretension'. He cites Petula Clark as an example and suggests that some classical music, such as the Blue Danube, has become so 'devalued by popularization' that it too has become part of popular taste.
Bourdieu does not argue that there is anything intrinsically superior about higher levels of culture. He sees this cultural hierarchy as socially constructed. It is used by classes to distinguish themselves from one another and by higher classes to establish and maintain their dominant position. <br />A third type of cultural capital relates to lifestyles and the consumption associated with different lifestyles. Even in areas as mundane as eating and dressing, different classes distinguish themselves from one another through their differences in taste. Higher classes tend to prefer food which is 'light', 'delicate' and 'refined', whereas lower classes favour 'the heavy; the fat and the coarse'. Expensive or rare meat and fresh fruit and vegetables are popular with higher classes. Teachers, who have plenty of cultural capital but less economic capital, favour exotic or original cooking (such as Italian or Chinese food) which can be purchased at low cost. <br />Following on from differences in consumption, a fourth type of cultural capital is that which is embodied. People's bodies can themselves come to reflect and represent differences in taste. Diet affects body shape, and the way in which you present your body can suggest that you are 'vulgar' or 'distinguished', lower-class or higher-class. Such things as your haircut, make-up, and whether you have a beard or moustache can all function as social markers indicating your position in class hierarchies. Even your posture and gestures can be indicative of belonging to a particular class. <br />Cultural capital cannot be passed on from generation to generation in quite as straightforward a way as economic capital. Nevertheless, through socialization and the acquisition of the class habitus (see below) children from families rich in cultural capital do tend to acquire considerable cultural capital for themselves. <br />
The third type of capital is social capital. Social capital consists of social connections - who you know and who you are friendly with; who you can call on for help or favours.
The fourth type of capital is symbolic capital. Symbolic capital is similar to the concept of status and refers to 'a reputation for competence and an image of respectability and honourability'.
These different forms of capital relate to one another. For example, it may be difficult to accumulate economic capital without the possession of some cultural, social or symbolic capital. Without educational qualifications, the appropriate taste to enable you to mix in the right circles or to impress at an interview, the 'right' social contacts, or a reputation for competence, it might be difficult or impossible to get a well-paid job. <br />To a certain extent, one type of capital can be used to accumulate a different type of capital. The wealthy who lack cultural capital can spend extra money on education to help increase their children's cultural capital. Similarly those with cultural capital can use it to make social contacts or acquire educational qualifications which might help them make money. <br />Classes can be distinguished according to both the type and the amount of capital they possess and their past history. Groups who have been upwardly mobile through education may lack the knowledge of , good' taste to fit in with those who have been established in higher classes for more than one generation. Groups high in cultural capital but low in economic capital (such as teachers) tend to have rather different lifestyles from those with plenty of economic capital but little cultural capital (such as successful small business people).It is out of such differences that each class, or class faction, develops its own habitus. <br />The habitus is 'a structured and structuring structure' consisting of a 'system of schemes generating classifiable practices and works' and 'a system of schemes of perception and appreciation (taste)' (Bourdieu, 1984, p. 171). In other words, the habitus consists of the subjective ways in which different classes understand and perceive the world, and the sorts of tastes and preferences that they have. A habitus tends to produce specific lifestyles. For example, it will influence the sorts of leisure pursuits that different classes follow, who they mix with, what sort of television programmes they watch, which newspapers (if any) they read, how high they value education, what food they eat, and so on. <br />Each habitus develops out of a 'position in the structure of the conditions of existence' - in other words out of economic position. The habitus of the working class, for example, reflects their lack of money and their everyday struggle to make ends meet. Bourdieu claims that the working class are not particularly concerned about the aesthetic merits of household objects. It doesn't matter to them if things around the house look nice so long as they are affordable and do the job they were bought for. On the other hand, the habitus of higher classes reflects their economic security and the greater range of choices open to them. They are far more concerned that what they buy for their home looks good and is in the 'best' possible taste. The habitus therefore has a structure and it structures the everyday life of individuals. <br />A habitus is not fixed and unchanging. As the economic position of different groups changes, so will their habitus. Groups struggle to get their culture accepted as legitimate, and this too may lead to changes, as some tastes gain in legitimacy while others lose ground. As Richard Jenkins puts it in discussing Bourdieu's work, 'struggles about the meaning of things are an aspect of class struggle' Genkins, 1992). <br />Success in the cultural field can bring economic success and so change the habitus. However, Bourdieu does not portray the class system as being very fluid. It is reproduced to a considerable degree. Dominant groups can to a large extent use their control over culture and what is considered good taste to maintain their position, pass it on to their children, and devalue cultures that do not stem from their habitus. As Jenkins puts it, 'the process of social reproduction is largely secured through a process of symbolic violence, a process of cultural reproduction'. Those from culturally disadvantaged classes are, by and large, kept in their place by cultural means. <br />Criticisms of Bourdieu <br />Despite being extremely influential, Bourdieu's work has come in for some criticism. Richard Jenkins makes four main criticisms of Bourdieu's work on class: <br />
Bourdieu's view is rather deterministic. Although he tries to introduce an element of fluidity and change into his theory, the concept of the habitus implies a high degree of reproduction of class cultures from generation to generation. Those in particular classes seem to have a particular culture imposed on them by their position. The importance of individual choice and creativity is underplayed.
Bourdieu neglects the importance of social institutions in shaping class structures. For example, he does not discuss how the development of the welfare state may have influenced class culture, particularly among professionals employed by the state.
Bourdieu assumes that his study of France can be generalized to class cultures in other countries. Jenkins suggests that different countries may have rather different class cultures and queries how far Bourdieu's theory is applicable to the USA and Britain.
Bourdieu does not provide a convincing discussion of the working class. Jenkins says, 'the superficiality of his treatment of the working class is matched only by its condescension'. He questions the idea that the working class are entirely uninterested in questions of taste when buying things for their homes. He asks: 'Does Bourdieu really believe that it is alien to working-class women to furnish and decorate their homes on the basis of aesthetic choices?' (Jenkins, 1992). However, as we shall see, some sociologists disagree with Jenkins's view and see Bourdieu's interpretation of working-class life as perceptive.
Cultural capital quiz<br />A light-hearted quiz loosely based on Bourdieu's work. Answer the questions below and work out how much cultural capital you have got!<br />
If you were buying a tape or CD, which of the following would come closest to the type of classical music you like?
The All Time Top Twenty Classical Tracks
Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
Never listen to classical music,
If you were choosing a holiday abroad, which would you prefer?
A villa in Tuscany within easy reach of the galleries of Florence
A tour of the pyramids and ancient sites of Egypt
Two weeks in Benidorm with all the lager you can drink
A trip to Disneyland in Florida
If you were going out for a meal, which would you choose?
Steak and chips followed by Black Forest gateau at the local pub.
An authentic sushi at a Japanese restaurant
A really hot vindaloo at the local Indian restaurant
A Big Mac at McDonalds
If you were buying a picture for your bedroom, which of the following would you select?
A picture of your favourite film/rock star
A print of a Van Gogh painting
An original watercolour by a local artist
A poster for a modern art exhibition at the Tate Gallery
If you wanted to buy a good bottle of wine to take to a friend's house for dinner, which would you choose?
French estate-bottled Bordeaux
Australian vintage Chardonnay
If you were choosing a book from a news stand to read on a train journey, which type would you choose?
A nineteenth-century classic
A Mills and Boon-type romance
The winner of last year's Bookerprize
A spy thriller
What Sunday newspaper would you read by choice?
Now score your answers from the points below.
(a) 2 (b) 3 (c) 1 (d) 0
(a) 3 (b) 3 (c) 0 (d) 1
(a) 1 (b) 3 (c) 2 (d) 0
(a) 0 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 3
(a) 3 (b) 1 (c) 2 (d) 0
(a) 2 (b) 0 (c) 3 (d) 1
(a) 0 (b) 3 (c) 1 (d) 2
18-21: Congratulations! You have either got a lot of cultural capital or else you been cheating. Either way you know what is supposed to be good taste even if you don't really always go for it.
13-17: You try hard but don't quite make it into the upper crust. Your tastes are middle-brow but not really intellectual.
8-12: You are fairly proletarian in your tastes and rather unsure about what is culturally correct.
0-7: You are unashamedly culture free. Carry on reading that Sunday Sport and swilling that lager!
Upper Class Culture & Identity<br />Westergaard &: Resler (1976) put forward a Marxist view that there is a ruling class in Britain consisting of the richest 5-10% of the population, whose position comes from the ownership of capital (i.e. Wealth instead of income). Private share ownership is highly concentrated in this minority group. The ruling class is made up of company directors, top managers, higher professionals and senior civil servants, many of whom are big shareholders. <br />Peter Saunders (1990) puts forward a New Right view of the upper class. He agrees with much of what Westergaard & Resler say about the concentration of wealth, but he sees this group as an influential economic elite rather than a ruling class. Most big companies are run by managers with only small shareholdings in the company. Much wealth is not privately held but is in pension schemes, insurance policies etc., meaning that most people have a stake in capitalism. Saunders claims that the economic elite do not have most of the power; power is decentralized. Class divisions have weakened and a ruling class no longer exists. <br />John Scott (1982, 1991,1997) Who Rules Britain? is influenced by Marxism, elite theory and Weber. He sees Britain as retaining an upper/ruling class, though this is much changed since the nineteenth century. The upper class evolved from nineteenth-century interlocking networks of landowners, financiers and manufacturers. During the twentieth century, family controlled companies became less common (though important ones remained) and joint-stock companies developed. Furthermore, professional managers took a greater role in running companies. A capitalist class persists. The ownership of property for use (for example, housing) has become more widespread, but the ownership of property for power (for example: stocks and shares, privately owned businesses etc.) remains highly concentrated. The decisions of big companies and big financial institutions are controlled by a network of managers and directors who often have directorships in many companies (interlocking directorships). This capitalist class comprises around 0.1 % of the adult population. The policies of all governments (even Labour ones) are strongly influenced by the interests of the capitalist class, and governments cannot go against the interests of capitalists without risking grave economic problems. <br />Lansley (2006) argues that a super-class, a small number of very wealthy, powerful people, dominates Britain. It is largely drawn from privileged backgrounds but includes successful entrepreneurs, entertainers and sportspeople. <br />Leslie Sklair (1995) argues that globalization and the global system have produced a transnational capitalist class associated with major transnational corporations. Members of this class are not loyal to particular countries; they see their interests in terms of the capitalist system as a whole. Sklair underestimates the importance of finance capitalists and the continuing power of nation states. He may be right to add a transnational dimension to ruling-class theory. <br />Elite Theory: accept that power is concentrated in the hands of the few, but deny that the power comes from wealth. Instead they see power deriving from the occupation of top jobs in society<br />Pluralists: deny that higher social classes monopolize power and believe that in liberal democracies the wishes of the people determine government policy. According to this viewpoint, power is dispersed and not concentrated in the hands of the upper classes<br />Where do you think that power & & control lies?<br />Who makes up the upper Class?<br />So who are the Upper Classes? <br />Task:<br />
Search The Sunday Times & Forbes ‘Rich List’ and discover a selection of examples to fill the 3 categories below!
How many of the people on the list are ‘old money’ or ‘new money’?
Who is the richest person in each category?
Think about the ideas on the previous page… who is right?
In industrialised countries, the upper classes make up anything from 5 to 10 per cent of the populations, and include a small cadre of the super-rich (around 0.2 per cent). Traditionally, the upper classes have been linked to old aristocratic traditions and to significant ownerrship of property (especially land). But this 'old' money is increasingly being joined by 'new' money. We might distinguish two groups: the upper-uppers and the lower-uppers. <br />The Traditional/Upper-Upper-Class: (Ascribed Status; Old Money; Social, Cultural & Economic Capital; True Blue Bloods; Insiders)<br />Membership is almost always the result of ascription or birth. In much of Europe, many large landed estates have passed from generaation to generation for centuries. The British aristocracy owns 40 per cent of British land. These families possess enormous wealth, primarily inherited rather than earned. For this reason, we sometimes say that memmbers of the upper-upper class have old money. Set apart by their wealth, members of the upper-upper class live in a world of exclusive affiliations. Children typically attend private secondary schools with others of similar background, completing their formal education at high-prestige colleges and universities. <br />The Landed Aristocracy<br />The Super Rich/Lower Upper Class: (Achieved Status; New Money; Social & Economic Capital; Outsiders)<br />Most upper-class people actually fall into the lower-upper class. From most people's point of view, this group is every bit as privileged as the upper-upper class. The major difference, however, is that lower-uppers are the 'working rich' who depend on earnings rather than inherited wealth as the primary source of their income. They include what we have come to call the 'fat cats', whose incomes often rise to extraordinary heights. The lower-upper class also includes 'the jet set rich' - the very visible and very famous, such as the footballer who accepts a million-pound contract to play in the First Division; the computer whiz who designs a program that sets a standard for the industry: or the musician whose work tops the charts - these are the lucky and talented achievers who reach the level of the lower-upper class. Celebrities like Elton John or Andrew Lloyd Weber are included here. But there are also the entrepreneurial rich, including people like Richard Branson, the Guinness family (the brewers); the Sieff family (Marks and Spencers) and Anita Roddick of the Body Shop. Entrepreneurial capitalists, reinters, executive and finance capitalists generally make the majority of their money through wise investments of stocks and bonds. Especially in the eyes of members of 'society', the lower-upper class are merely the 'new rich' who can never savour the status enjoyed by those with rich and famous grandparents. Thus, while the new rich typically live in the biggest homes, they often find themselves excluded from the clubs and associations of old-money families.<br />Entrepreneurs <br />
Jet Set Aristocracy
Toffs and snobs? Upper-class identity in Britain.<br />________________________________________<br />Steve Chapman - Sociology Review 11.1 (Sept 2001): p30. (2570 words) <br />________________________________________<br />Is class dead? It might benefit some social class groups to suggest we live in a classless society, but it is also clear that some classes are just more equal than others.<br />Kath Woodward (2000) notes that when we meet someone for the first time we tend to ask them what they do for a living. This interaction is not just about making polite conversation. It is essentially about identity because both our sense of self and how others see us, that is, our social identity, are shaped by the judgements we make about the job we have or don't have in contrast with the jobs others have. If we perceive them to have a better job we may grow quite concerned about how they see us. For example, if we have a manual job and they have a professional job, will they treat us in a condescending manner? Should we show deference? Are we likely to establish a strong friendship or are we unlikely ever to move in the same social circles again? In other words, both our social identity (our public persona) and our self (our subjective awareness) may be strongly bound up with our employment and the income, wealth, status and lifestyle associated with it.<br />The link between employment and social class<br />Mackintosh and Mooney (2000) note that one crucial way in which occupation is linked to identity is through social class. Our judgements about our own and other people's jobs usually involve the classifying of ourselves and others into social classes. As Mackintosh and Mooney argue: 'Social class can provide us with a sense of belonging; it can tell us who "we" are and who "they" are and, hence, how to relate to the world around us.' There are other important sources of identity, for example age, gender, ethnicity and so on, but there is evidence that class identity based upon occupation is an extremely powerful influence on how we see the world and the social relationships within it.<br />A class-ridden society?<br />There is a tendency to believe that class identity is mainly a thing of the past. Storry and Childs' (1999) description of 1950s Britain suggests that:<br />Class was a staple part of the British way of life. Each class had unique characteristics. The upper class had stately homes, aristocratic backgrounds and posh accents; the middle class semi-detached houses, suits and bowler hats; the working class, common accents, fish and chips and council flats. This produced a society divided between 'Us' (the workers) and 'Them' (the rich and the bosses). Pubs always had a public bar and a lounge. Even railway carriages were divided into first, second and third class compartments.<br />However, despite the view of the former Conservative Prime Minister, John Major, in 1992 that Britain is now a classless society, there is strong evidence in relation to the distribution of wealth, income and poverty, educational achievement and morbidity and mortality that Britain is as class-ridden in 2001 as it ever was in the mid-1950s. According to David Cannadine (1998): 'It is still with us, still around us, still inside us, still part of each of us.' This article illustrates Cannadine's assertion that 'the history of class in Britain is the history of multiple identities' by examining the cultural characteristics of upper-class identity today.<br />The upper class<br />It is important to understand that our sociological knowledge of the upper class is limited because it has both the economic and cultural power to resist sociological investigation. Mackintosh and Mooney (2000) note:<br />Wealth and privilege are not very visible. The wealthy can withdraw into a private world of fee-paying schooling, private transport and health care, and social networks that are largely invisible to the non-wealthy.<br />However, we can make some sociological observations about some of the cultural characteristics of the upper class in the UK.<br />Concentration of wealth<br />First, the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few is likely to lead to awareness among the upper class that economic power is a tremendous source of opportunity, privilege and power over others which is worth reproducing and protecting. Inland Revenue statistics (and these are likely to be an under-estimate) suggest that in 1994 53% of financial wealth in the UK was owned by only 5% of the population. This wealthy upper class can be broadly divided into landowners, who have mainly inherited their property, such as the Duke of Westminster, and those who own fortunes, usually in the form of shares in industry, commerce and finance. Inheritance is a key characteristic of this social class. For example, over 60% of the richest 500 people in Britain have inherited their wealth. However, there is little public concern at such blatant economic inequality or at the fact that this economic elite has come to dominate the financial, political and cultural sectors of society. Its ability to maintain a low social profile while exerting power and control has meant that its economic and social dominance is rarely challenged.<br />The upper-class family<br />Second, the upper class shares a common background in that it is mainly made up of members of a fairly small number of wealthy extended families, often interconnected by marriage. Studies of top companies frequently reveal that members of upper-class extended kinship networks hold multiple directorships across a range of companies.<br />The upper-class family is an important agency of socialisation because it makes a crucial contribution to 'social closure.' The upper class is a self-selecting and exclusive elite which is closed to outsiders. We can see two processes here which are important in ensuring the ability of the upper class to close itself off from lower socio-economic groups, thus denying upward social mobility into its ranks.<br />The first process is the encouragement of children to choose marriage partners from other upper-class families rather than from other social circles. John Scott (1982) argues that attempts by members of the upper class 'to marry off their children to those who are eligible socially, economically and politically guarantee the perpetuation of an intensive kinship network.' As Sampson argues (quoted in Scott), inter-marriage 'confers access to a common background and attitude, a common language and trust, reinforced by Eton, Oxbridge and country house life, which leads one member to prefer another.'<br />The second process is the immersion of children into a culture of privilege which clearly distinguishes this class from other social groups and reaffirms awareness of their social superiority and the subordination of other social classes. This may be expressed in a number of ways.<br />* Children's names (think about how many working-class people you know called Camilla, Rupert, Sebastian, Tamara, Arabella or Hugo) and the presence of nannies and other domestic staff.<br />* Socialisation into 'high culture' (being familiar with classical music, art, ballet, opera). Supporters of high culture believe it has artistic merit and aesthetic qualities that can only be appreciated with good breeding and the appropriate education. Critical sociologists note that such a culture has had a disproportionate influence on British culture in general and in particular in the field of education, in which it has partly shaped what should be included in the curriculum. It has also been influential as a critique of popular culture (television, cinema, music), which is often dismissed as low culture and seen as less valuable than high culture.<br />* Participation in blood sports such as fox-hunting and grouse-shooting, and also the 'social season', which involves being in the country or London or abroad in particular holiday resorts (Klosters for skiing) at particular times of the year, or at debutante balls at which they meet prospective upper-class partners.<br />* Concern with etiquette (social convention): members of the upper class must be addressed in the correct fashion, appropriate dress must be worn on particular occasions, particular subjects must not be talked about (talking about money is regarded as vulgar).<br />Upper-class education<br />Third, the upper class shares a common background in terms of education at public schools and Oxbridge. Scott (1982) notes that the education attained in such institutions is probably less important than the socialisation into the ethos or culture of such schools, which is based on justifying privilege in terms of public service and common good. Scott notes that the main role of the public schools is to 'mould the ideas and outlooks of their pupils' in such a way that they quickly learn that they have common interests which are worth pursuing beyond school.<br />In 1991 there were 2,287 private schools, educating 7.4% of the school age population. Most of these are 'prep' schools educating children below the age of 12 or 13 years. Most sociological research has focused on the 233 secondary private schools which belong to the Headmasters' Conference. Of these, nine, the so-called Clarendon Schools (including Eton, Harrow, Shrews-bury Rugby, Charterhouse and Westminster), allegedly offer the best education. The fees are high; they averaged [pound]11,000 per annum in 1996, which was more than the average manual wage.<br />Marxists argue that the very existence of public schools preserves and legitimates class divisions in society because such schools symbolise the principle of hierarchy as an alternative to equality and fairness. As Neil Kinnock, the ex-leader of the Labour Party once said, they are the very cement in the wall that divides British society.<br />Marxists suggest that the major function of the public schools is to ensure that pupils are socialised into a common culture which unifies that class. This is done through the hidden curriculum of public schools, which promotes the value of conservatism and especially respect for tradition, nationalism, acceptance of authority and hierarchy as natural outcomes of superior breeding and upbringing and hostility towards socialist ideals. Public schoolboys are encouraged to see themselves as the elite. Mike O'Donnell (1992) notes that the demanding and competitive regimes of boys' public schools -- plenty of prep (homework), sport and firm discipline -- result in the cultural characteristics of self-control, application and hard work. Pupils have to learn to take orders but know that ultimately they are likely to exercise considerable authority themselves.<br />The prefect system gives early experience of such leadership, as does the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) found in many public schools. For example, the CCF aims to develop powers of leadership in upper-class boys, who are likely to go on to be army officers. In contrast, the Army Cadet Force for non-public school boys aims to develop the qualities of good citizenship and the spirit of service to Queen and country.<br />Empirical studies of public school-educated pupils<br />Empirical studies of the attitudes of those educated in the private sector confirm the picture of a common culture. Studies have shown that private school pupils are more likely than state school pupils to blame the poor for poverty; to have a stronger belief that inequality is acceptable and inevitable; and to be less likely to blame the government for unemployment, focusing instead on the lack of skills and the poor motivation of the unemployed. Social class and class position also seem much more important to privately educated pupils than to state-educated pupils. Kenway (1990) even found that private school girls maintained their high levels of self-esteem by devaluing the status and achievements of state-educated young people.<br />Deborah Roker's (1994) study of private school girls found that the majority of girls in her sample were strong supporters of the Conservative Party and were aware of its policies, whereas state-educated girls were more likely to be uninterested in or alienated by politics. Many of the private school girls in her study supported lowering the rates of taxation, wanted public expenditure reduced, were in favour of a reduction in trade union powers and generally supported capitalism.<br />Roker argued that the political views of private school girls generally reflect the views of their parents because the girls wish to repay their parents' investment in their education. Their lack of friends outside school, their limited experience of real life and the lack of discussion of alternative political values were also probably responsible for the conservative culture to which they subscribed. However, Roker also noted that the characteristics acquired through such private education and family background -- personal confidence and the ability to articulate ideas assertively -- gave such pupils an edge over similarly academically able girls in the state sector.<br />The influence of the upper-class peer group<br />Fourth, the public school and Oxbridge experience is geared to life-long friendship and networking beyond schooldays, which also contributes to the idea of an integrated elite. In other words, the peer group experience leads to 'old-boy networks' made up of people who share the same cultural assets. As Scott (1982) notes, these contacts operate informally through 'membership of London clubs, by the social round of dinners and parties as well as, more formally in business meetings and at official events.' Scott suggests that these contacts are central in furthering their careers and also 'enable them to have more influence in the posts where they eventually land.'<br />Conclusion<br />It can be argued that a strong upper-class identity exists which originates in the experience of socialisation found in upper-class families and public schools and which is reinforced by the closed and privileged nature of inter-marriage, extended family business contacts and the old-boy network. It can also be argued that, despite lacking a conventional occupational identity (many members of the upper class don't work but instead live off wealth), upper-class culture and identity has attained a privileged and dominant position in society as a result of its monopoly over wealth and, consequently, over positions of influence. This may account for the lack of any public debate or discussion of its role, despite public announcements about the nature of social class by the likes of John Prescott, John Major and Tony Blair. However, as Storry and Childs (1999) conclude, the upper class 'may be an invisible elite in cultural terms but its underlying power and influence have never been stronger.<br />Students might be tempted to research the contrast in the attitudes of those educated in private schools and those educated in state schools.<br />Steve Chapman is Chief Examiner for OCR A-level sociology and a teacher of sociology at Fulford School, York. He is co-author, with Stephen Moore and Dave Aiken, of Sociology for AS (HarperCollins, 2001).<br />References and further reading:<br />
Cannadine, D. (1998) Class in Britain, Penguin.
Kenway, J. (1990) 'Privileged girls, private schools, and the culture of success', in J. Kenway and S. Willis (eds) Hearts and Minds: Self Esteem and the Schooling of Girls, Falmer.
Mackintosh, M. and Mooney, G. (2000) 'Identity, inequality and social class', in K. Woodward (ed.) Questioning Identity: Gender, Class, Nation, Routledge.
O'Donnell, M. (1992) A New Introduction to Sociology, Nelson.
Roker, D. (1994) 'Girls in private schools', SOCIOLOGY REVIEW, Vol. 4, No. 2.
Scott, J. (1982) The Upper Classes: Property and Privilege in Britain, Macmillan.
Storry, M. and Childs, P. (1999) British Cultural Identities, Routledge.
Woodward, K. (ed.) (2000) Questioning Identity: Gender, Class, Nation, Routledge.
Task: <br />Further research into different features of the traditional upper class & the superrich: <br />
Watch programs such as ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ and the ‘Fabulous Life of…’
Read celebrity magazines such as ‘OK’ & Hello
Look further into the Sunday Times Rich List 2010
Use the Internet to research further into their ‘way of life’
Use Wikipedia to research ‘The Season’ ‘The Gentlemen’s Club’
Use the BBC website to research ‘Debutantes’
Find out about U and no U language
Middle Class Culture & Identity <br />Marx's ideas on the middle class have influenced later research. Marx argued that classes would be increasingly polarized between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Small-business people and the self-employed (the petty bourgeoisie) would sink into the proletariat. Marx recognized the growing number of white-collar workers but said little about their significance. Many critics of Marx argue that there is a growing middle class, which undermines his theory of two polarizing classes. <br />Weber believed the middle class was distinguished from the working class by its superior life chances and more advantaged market situation; middle-class workers had skills and qualifications which were in demand, which allowed them to command higher wages than the working class. <br />The conventional way to distinguish between the middle class and the working class is to equate them with non-manual and manual workers. However, the idea that non-manual workers make up the middle class can be criticized: <br />
Unlike Marxist theories, it has little theoretical basis.
Non-manual workers are a diverse group which may overlap with other classes i.e. the boundary problem!
The middle classes used to be the 'middle group' between poor and rich, who gained income through trade and manufacturing. Weber predicted its growth and Marx its demise. In fact, however, the middle classes have increasingly made up a larger and larger proportion of most of the class structure of Europe. middle class occupations have material and cultural advantages over working class employment, generally offering more security, higher pay and higher prestige. The middle class encompasses far more racial and ethnic diversity than the upper class. While many upper class people (especially upper-uppers) know each other personally, such exclusiveness and familiarity do not characterise the middle class. We can identify three general shades of middle class: the upper (or traditional) middle class, the service class and the lower middle class. It is a large and highly fragmented group (Savage 1995).<br />The upper middle class <br />The more powerful end of this category, also dubbed the traditional middle class, earns above-average incomes. Family income may be even greater if both wife and husband work. High income allows upper middle class families to gradually accumulate considerable property, a comfortable house in a fairly expensive area, several cars and investments. A majority of upper middle class children receive university educations, and postgraduate degrees are common. Many go on to high-prestige occupations (as doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants or business executives). Lacking the power of the upper class to influence national or international events, the upper middle class nonetheless often plays an important role in local political affairs . <br />The service class/middle-middle class<br />The service class includes people who provide highly valued and well-paid services to employers, including middle-level bureaucrats, management of health, welfare and education services, technically trained secretaries and business consultants. This group also includes many people who work in media, teaching, fashion and therapy professions. Service class people enjoy a lot of autonomy in their work, usually exercise and delegate authority, and tend to have secure careers (Goldthorpe, 1982; Lash and Urry, 1987). David Lockwood (1992) further subdivides this group into: professionals, who rely on cultural capital (knowledge); managers; and petty bourgeois (traders and small property owners). People in this class also tend to own property (though in less fashionable districts), to own vehicles (though less expensive models) and to have relatively high levels of education, though they are more likely to work to pull maximum advantage from state-sponsored education and to have attended second-tier colleges and universities. <br />The lower middle class <br />The rest of the middle class falls close to the centre of the class structure. People in the lower middle class typically work in less prestigious white-collar occupations (such as bank clerks, middle managers or sales clerks) or in highly skilled blue-collar jobs (including electrical work and carpentry). Commonly, lower middle class households earn incomes around the national average. Income at this level provides a secure, if modest, standard of living. Lower middle class people generally accumulate some wealth over the course of their working lives, mostly in the form of a house. People in this class generally complete some post-secondary school qualifications, though not necessarily university degrees.<br />Braverman<br />Nobody loves the middle class.<br />________________________________________<br />Chapman, Steve. "Nobody loves the middle class." Sociology Review 12.3 (2003): 24+. General OneFile. Web. 5 Aug. 2010.<br />________________________________________<br />`Nobody loves the middle class. The toffs hate them because they see them as pushy, money-grabbing counter-jumpers who have bought their own furniture (as opposed to inheriting it). The proles hate the middle class because they stand for all the suburban values--thrift, hard work, high standards of personal hygiene--and because they think the middle class are snobs and look down on them (which, of course, they do).'<br />(Tony Parsons, The Polenta Jungle, 1993)<br />Abercrombie and Warde (2000) point out that since 1945 the UK has experienced an impressive growth in the number of people employed in non-manual jobs, and Mark Kirby (1999) suggests that non-manual work has been the `one common starting point for defining the middle class, albeit a highly unsatisfactory one'. It is unsatisfactory because not all sociologists agree that all non-manual occupations belong to the middle class. Some argue that some higher professionals and managers constitute a superclass that has more in common with the upper class, while Marxists, such as Braverman, argue that white-collar workers have more in common with the working class.<br />Many sociologists today prefer to use the term `the middle classes' because, they argue, non-manual work is characterised by distinct social groups or class fractions which differ from one another in terms of economic rewards and assets, lifestyle and cultural attitudes. I would argue that there are cultural characteristics in terms of values, norms, attitudes and lifestyle that are common to all non-manual groups and that these constitute a middle-class identity in the UK. In particular, this article will suggest that such a middle-class identity is shaped by a suburban cultural experience which emphasises the need for non-manual workers to constantly compare their social position with that of other non-manual workers, the upper classes and the working classes.<br />The cultural characteristics of the middle class<br />Many sociologists argue that the key to understanding middle-class identity is home ownership. Although owning your own home is increasingly common for working-class people, for much of the twentieth century it was the preserve of the middle classes, who bought houses in the suburbs of towns and cities and became a commuting class. The result was the development of a suburban lifestyle or subculture. It can be argued that it is suburban life that mainly shapes middleclass identity today, with its shared social rules, norms and values, its social anxiety about doing the right thing and the consequent need to compare oneself socially with the neighbours and other social groups.<br />The BBC2 documentary series The Rise and Sprawl of the Middle Classes (2001) identified a number of values and norms which characterise the everyday behaviour associated with middle-class suburban culture (Middle-class suburban culture). The view that being middle class is about respectability, decency and self-control is reinforced by the sort of attack outlined in the Tony Parsons quote at the beginning of this article. Suburban lifestyle, and therefore middle-class identity, is derided as boring, repetitive and unfashionable. However, sociologists such as Alison Light (quoted in the BBC documentary) argue that such views have made the middle classes cling even more fiercely to their sense of social difference.<br />Middle-class suburban culture<br />Social aspiration: the need to communicate social position to others through, for example, conspicuous consumption (buying luxury items in order to acquire status), use of language and having the `right' accent. Some sections of the middle class may distinguish themselves from the masses by referring to `drawing rooms' or `sitting rooms', `lavatories' and `napkins' rather than `lounges', `toilets' and `serviettes', and through dress, table manners and so on. A good example of this might be Hyacinth Bucket's attempts in the television comedy ‘Keeping up Appearances’ to convince people that her surname should actually be pronounced `Bouquet'.<br />Social anxiety: a concern about what other people think, which Alison Light argues is a central concern of suburban middle-class culture. The result of this `net curtain-twitching world of anxiety' is that members of the middle class tend to be reserved and distant because they are mainly concerned with avoiding making fools of themselves. They keep themselves to themselves and family life is private. Suburban areas, therefore, tend to lack the community spirit sociologists see as characterising some working-class areas.<br />Domesticity: the home and the garden are the focus of the suburban lifestyle because they symbolise social aspiration and difference. The family car which sits on the driveway, the Ground Force-inspired decking in the garden and the Ideal Homes-inspired interior decorating confirm social position and social difference. So, too, does the middle-class housewife, whose husband earns enough to provide for her. Her domestic life, which is likely to be supported by cleaners and perhaps a nanny, symbolises difference because it is mainly taken up by leisure and recreation rather than by housework and childcare.<br />Conservatism: the suburban lifestyle is essentially traditional and conservative in thought and action. Sudden change is not welcomed; it is seen as dangerous and threatening. The suburban mindset sees society in moral decline and consequently change must be resisted. A good example of such attitudes is Cashmore's research into middle-class attitudes towards immigration. He found that residents of the middle-class suburb of Edgbaston in Birmingham supported stronger immigration laws and believed that ethnic minorities had not made enough effort to integrate into white society. Studies of voting behaviour suggest that the majority of the middle class votes for the Conservative Party, although the New Labour shift to the right has attracted a substantial middle-class vote.<br /> Social comparability: the key cultural characteristic that underpins the values and actions of the middle classes. The BBC documentary suggested that the middle classes fear the social groups above and below them and constantly compare themselves with them. They fear their employers because they can take their jobs away and also fear the upwardly mobile working class which might take their jobs in the future. They see the working class as loud and vulgar and too free in their actions. They see the upper class as decadent and immoral. It is this strong sense of social difference that lies at the heart of middle-class identity.<br />Socialisation and the middle class<br />It is useful at this stage to examine the agents of socialisation which reproduce the cultural characteristics we have identified so far.<br />King and Raynor (1981) suggest that child-centredness is a distinctive feature of the middle-class family. In particular, the passing on of educational opportunities and attitudes is essential to the fact that middle-class children are more likely to succeed in the education system than working-class children.<br />Some researchers claim, controversially, that socialisation in middle-class homes is superior to that in working-class homes. It is argued that middle-class parenting views children's play as an opportunity to develop both language and intellect through the use of appropriate books, toys and games. Research by the Newsons (1968) claimed that middle-class parenting stresses the importance of what King and Raynor call `achievement motivation'- the idea that society is a ladder to be climbed. The Newsons claim that middle-class parenting results in `functional autonomy': children are trained to handle the adult world earlier than working-class children. As King and Raynor (1981) explain, middle-class children grow up `viewing the world as a place to be mastered through one's own activities'.<br />A controversial contribution to this debate was made by Basil Bernstein, who argued that middle-class children are socialised into an `elaborated' language code. Education is largely conducted using such a code, according to Bernstein, and consequently middle-class children experience educational advantage because such a language code is familiar to them but alien to working-class culture.<br />King and Raynor (1981) conclude: The picture that emerges of the child in the middle-class family is fairly consistent. The home provides material, intellectual and motivational resources deliberately provided by parents to further the development of the child, which grows up with a belief in its own potency, a positive attitude towards school and the expectation of educational and occupational success.<br />Pierre Bourdieu and `cultural capital'<br />The Marxist, Pierre Bourdieu, is critical of sociological explanations which allege that the socialisation of middle-class children is superior to that of working-class children. He argues that middle-class children succeed in education because schools are middle-class institutions run by middle-class people (teachers) in which, in general, middle-class pupils succeed.<br />Bourdieu notes that what goes on in schools in terms of appropriate intelligence, language, knowledge and behaviour is defined by the middle classes, who have the economic and cultural power to impose their view of the world on the working class. Middle-class children, therefore, come into education equipped to do well. Their values, attitudes and behaviour correspond closely with teacher expectations. Bourdieu refers to such advantages as `cultural capital' and notes that they stem from the `habitus' or lifestyle, values and expectations that develop out of the experience of middle-class families.<br />Bourdieu notes that the everyday experience of habitus results in people learning what they can expect out of life and how far they are likely to succeed at something. In other words, habitus sets what we see as realistic boundaries to our aspirations and ambitions, which we pass on to children through socialisation. For example, in middle-class homes, parents are likely to have had the benefit of a university education, and, therefore, children may be encouraged from an early age to take for granted that they will end up at university.<br />Such cultural advantages are reinforced by economic capital, as middle-class parents are more likely to send their children to private nurseries and schools or to supplement state education with economic supports such as private tutoring, computer access and cultural experiences.<br />Recent changes to middle-class identities<br />There is some evidence that suburban middle-class identity may be fragmenting. Five broad observations can be made.<br />
Savage (1995) argues that there have always been long-standing differences between professionals and managers, in that the former have probably succeeded because of cultural capital, while managers have tended to be upwardly mobile from the working-class shop floor. Savage argues that these differences profoundly influence the lifestyle of these groups. For example, professional leisure time may be spent in cultural pursuits, such as visiting museums and art galleries or going to classical concerts. Managerial leisure pursuits are likely to focus on sport. Savage suggests that differences between these two groups are likely to become stronger because managers are experiencing down-sizing and redundancy, especially in banking and manufacturing. Professionals, on the other hand, have been able to defend their existing privileges. A side effect of declining managerial status is that managers are keener to socialise their children into the importance of educational qualifications so that they can pursue professional rather than managerial careers.
Savage notes that the late twentieth century saw the movement of higher professionals and managers out of the suburbs and into the countryside or, in the case of the younger and more affluent single professionals and managers, into central urban locations in cities such as London and Manchester that have undergone `gentrification'. According to Savage, this indicates a fragmentation of middle-class lifestyles.
Some commentators have suggested that those professionals employed by the state, especially in education, welfare and health, and those found in creative industries, such as the media, are more likely to vote Labour than Conservative. Savage notes that `the highly educated appear to be more left-wing than the less highly educated'.
Sociologists have paid a great deal of attention to white-collar workers in recent years. Marxists, such as Braverman, suggest that clerical work has been subjected to deskilling and that white-collar workers no longer enjoy economic advantages over manual workers. It is suggested that a process of proletarianisation has occurred, which has undermined the middle-class identity of white-collar workers, in that the cultural outlook of such workers now is like that of the working class. The evidence for this argument is mixed. Research by Marshall (1988) found that 50% of his white-collar sample saw themselves as working class. However he also found crucial differences in lifestyle and cultural characteristics between white-collar workers and manual workers. The white-collar sample were much more individualistic in outlook, less likely to belong to a trade union and more likely to vote Conservative. Furthermore, Marshall's white-collar sample had few working-class friends and spent their money in quite different ways.
There is evidence that the self-employed or the petite (or petty) bourgeoisie (such as shopkeepers), which has been considered one of the most conservative and individualistic of middle-class groups in terms of beliefs and action, may be becoming more organised and radicalised. There is evidence (although mainly anecdotal) from the petrol blockades of 2000 and the foot and mouth crisis of 2001 that self-employed groups, such as hauliers and farmers, are more willing to take direct action in order to protect their interests.
Conclusion<br />The view that class is dead is not borne out by the evidence about those social groups that we can categorise as middle class. Moreover, Tony Blair's assertion that `we are all middle class now' is similarly flawed. Membership of the middle class involves the maintenance of social difference, both internally and externally. Members of the middle class, whether professionals, managers, the self-employed or white-collar workers, fiercely defend that difference. Much of their cultural behaviour, whether it be their aggressive use of education or their suburban anxiety about declining morality, can be seen to stem from a shared cultural feeling that other social groups may be benefiting at their expense.<br />References and further reading:<br />
Abercrombie, N. and Warde, A. (2000) Contemporary British Society, Polity.
Cashmore, E. (1987) The Logic of Racism, Allen and Unwin.
King, R. and Raynor, I. (1981), The Middle Class, Longman.
Kirby, M. (1999) Stratification and Differentiation, Macmillan.
Marshall, G., Rose, D., Newby, H. and Vogler, C. (1988) Social Class in Modern Britain, Unwin Hyman.
Newson, I. and Newson, E. (1968) Four Years Old in an Urban Community, Allen & Unwin.
Savage, M. (1995) `The middle classes in modern Britain', SOCIOLOGY REVIEW, Vol. 5, No. 2.
Steve Chapman is Chief Examiner for OCR A-level Sociology and teaches sociology at Fulford School, York.
Task: <br />This article can be used to help students `track' issues of class (and not just middle class) through the various topics that you study. Students should take each topic in turn and make brief notes on:<br />
What definition(s) of social class is/are used (and by whom)?
What are the alleged effects of social class on different areas of social life?
What evidence is provided for these effects? Create a list of general cultural characteristics that are common to the whole middle class!
What changes have occurred to the middle class that have caused its fragmentation?
Are there opportunities for making links with their synoptic topic? (For example, are there alleged class differences in socialisation which have been used to explain levels of educational success or deviance?)
Students could then be asked to use relevant material from their notes to answer a question on one of their topics which raises issues of social class.
Savage et al’s (1995) research revealed at least 5 social classes:<br />
Self Employed/Small Business Owners (Petit Bourgeoisie):
Basil Bernstein – Speech Patterns <br />Working Class Culture & Identity<br />Two distinct phases have marked out the working class. Working class life used to be defined in terms of strong identities based in communities associated with a particular field of labour, such as found in traditional mining communities (Dennis, 1956), traditional steel communities (Beynon, 1991), traditional fishing communities, and so forth. But to name these communities is to sense their demise. In the UK the old coalfields around' Durham or the steel furnaces blasting out around Middleborough have gone and the fishing communities around the country are rapidly shrinking. With them went jobs, income, security and communities. After long periods of unemployment and demoralisation, some benefit from new patterns of work that emerge. But these patterns are very different, often involving relocation and work that is much more fragmented. We have moved from work in the mine to work in McDonald's. And with that, working class communities are in steep decline. <br />But a new working class has also emerged. This is one that will own their own homes, live in suburbs and be more affluent, with cars and video recorders. It is even unlikely that they will see themselves as working class. <br />The blue-collar occupations of the working class generally yield a household income somewhat below the national average. Working class families thus find themselves vulnerable to financial problems, especially when confronted by unemployment or illness. Besides generating less income, working class jobs typically yield less personal satisfaction. Tasks tend to be routine, requiring discipline but rarely imagination, and workers are usually subject to continual supervision. Such jobs also provide fewer benefits, like private medical insurance and pension schemes. About half of working class families own their homes, usually in lower-cost districts.<br />Traditional Working Class <br />The working class tends to receive lower wages, enjoy less job security and receive fewer fringe benefits than the middle class. Working-class individuals have significantly poorer life chances, including lower life expectancy. The issue of whether the working class share a distinctive lifestyle has been controversial. <br />David Lockwood (1966) identified a group that he called proletarian traditionalists, who lived in close-knit working-class communities (for example, coal miners) and exemplified traditional working-class culture. The main features of the culture were: <br />
loyalty to workmates;
the spending of leisure time with workmates;
a belief in pursuing goals collectively rather than individually;
a fatalistic attitude to life (a belief that life chances depend on luck);
a present-time orientation with an emphasis on immediate gratification ('enjoy yourself now');
a tendency to see class in terms of a division between 'us' (working people) and 'them' (the rich and powerful);
segregated conjugal roles, with men as the main breadwinners and women as home-makers.
These characteristics are diametrically opposed to supposed middle-class values such as individualism, a belief in deferred gratification (planning for the future), an image of society as a status hierarchy with opportunities for individuals, and joint conjugal roles. Marx predicted an expanding and increasingly homogeneous and class-conscious working class, but some sociologists have argued that the working class is becoming smaller, more fragmented and less class-conscious: <br />
Since 1945 manual work has fallen by 54% and jobs in services have increased by 45%.
Deindustrialization has particularly affected the jobs which produced proletarian traditionalists such as mining, ship building and steel work.
The expansion of non-manual jobs has created opportunities for social mobility.
The standard of living has risen for the population as a whole.
The working class is increasingly divided by occupations and differing levels of success.
Hogart <br />Willmott & Young <br />Task <br />All that is solid <br />Strike <br />A ‘New’ Working Class – Embourgeoisiement?<br />Writing in the nineteenth century, Marx predicted that the intermediate stratum would be depressed into the proletariat. During the 1950s and early 1960s a number of sociologists suggested that just the opposite was happening. They claimed that a process of embourgeoisiement was occurring whereby increasing numbers of manual workers were entering the middle stratum and becoming middle-class. From the 1950s onwards it was suggested that a growing group of affluent manual workers were joining the middle class. As a consequence, the stratification system was increasingly dominated by a middle class, which was growing rapidly. <br />The theory used to explain this presumed development was a version of . It was argued that the demands of modern technology and an advanced industrial economy determined the shape of the stratification system. For instance, the American sociologist Clark Kerr (Kerr et al., 1962) claimed that advanced industrialism requires an increasingly highly educated, trained anef' skilled workforce which, in turn, leads to higher-paid and higher-status occupations amongst manual workers. <br />The supporters of embourgeoisement argued that middle-range incomes led to middle-class lifestyles. The process of embourgeoisement was seen to be accelerated by the demands of modern industry for a mobile labour force. This tended to break up traditional close-knit working-class communities found in the older industrial areas. The geographically mobile, affluent workers moved to newer, suburban areas where they were largely indistinguishable from their white-collar neighbours.<br />The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure: Goldthorpe, Lockwood, Bechhofer and Platt (1968a, 1968b, 1969) presented the results of research designed to test the embourgeoisement hypothesis. They tried to find as favourable a setting as possible for the confirmation of the hypothesis. If embourgeoisement were not taking place in a context that offered every opportunity, then it would probably not be occurring in less favourable contexts. <br />Goldthorpe et al. chose Luton, then a prosperous area in southeast England with expanding industries. A sample of 229 manual workers was selected, plus a comparative group of 54 white-collar workers drawn from various grades of clerical work. The study was conducted from 1963 to 1964 and examined workers from Vauxhall Motors, Skefko Ball Bearing Company and Laporte Chemicals. Nearly half the manual workers in the survey had come from outside the southeast area in search of stable, well-paid jobs. All were married and 57 per cent were home owners or buyers. They were highly paid relative to other manual workers and their wages compared favourably with those of many white-collar workers. However, white-collar workers retained many of their market advantages such as fringe benefits and promotion chances. <br />If affluent manual workers were becoming middle-class they should be largely indistinguishable from white-collar workers in these areas. However, the research did not find that this was the case. <br />Instrumental orientation to work<br />The affluent workers defined their work in instrumental terms, as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Work was simply a means of earning money to raise living standards. Largely because of this instrumental orientation they derived little satisfaction from work. They had few close friends at work and rarely participated in the social clubs provided by their firms. Most affluent workers felt that there was little chance for promotion. They were concerned with making a 'good living' from their firms rather than a 'good career' within their company. <br />Like the traditional worker, affluent workers saw improvements in terms of wages and working conditions as resulting from collective action in trade unions rather than individual achievement. However, they lacked a strong sense of class solidarity and union loyalty. The affluent workers joined with their workmates as self-interested individuals to improve their wages and working conditions. Thus the solidaristic collectivism of the traditional worker had largely been replaced by the instrumental collectivism of the affluent worker. <br />By contrast, white-collar workers did not define work in purely instrumental terms. They expected and experiienced a higher level of job satisfaction. They made friends at work, became involved in social clubs and actively sought promotion. <br />Goldthorpe et al. concluded that, in the area of work, there were significant differences between affluent manual workers and white-collar workers. <br />Friendship, lifestyle and norms <br />Goldthorpe et al. found little support for the view that affluent manual workers were adopting middle-class lifestyles. Affluent workers drew their friends and compannIOns from predominantly working-class kin and neighbours, while the white-collar workers mixed more with friends made at work and with people who were neither kin nor neighbours. Furthermore, the affluent workers showed no desire to seek middle-class status. <br />However, in one respect there was a convergence between the lifestyles of the affluent worker and the lower middle class. Both tended to lead a privatised and home centred existence. The affluent workers' social relationships were centred on, and largely restricted to, the home. Their time was spent watching television, gardening, doing jobs around the house and socializing with their immediate family. There was no evidence of the communal sociability of the traditional working class. <br />Images of society <br />In terms of their general outlook on life, affluent workers differed in important respects from traditional workers. Many had migrated to Luton in order to improve their living standards rather than sirnply accepting life in their towns of origin. In this respect, they had a purposive rather than a fatalistic attitude. However, as we noted previously, the means they adopted to realize their goals instrumental collectivism - were not typical of the middle class as a whole. In addition, their goals were distinct from those of the middle class in that they focused simply on material benefits rather than on a concern with advancement in the prestige hierarchy. <br />This emphasis on materialism was reflected in the affluent workers' images of society. Few saw society in terms of either the power model based on the idea of 'us and them’, characteristic of the traditional worker, or the prestige model, which was typical of the middle class. <br />The largest group (56 per cent) saw money as the basis of class divisions. In terms of this money model, or pecuniary model, they saw a large central class made up of the majority of the working class population. <br />Although differing from traditional workers, the affiuent workers' outlook on life and their image of society did not appear to be developing in a middle-class direction. <br />Political attitudes<br />Finally, Goldthorpe et al. found little support for the view that affluence leads manual workers to vote for the Conservative Party. In the 1959 election, 80 per cent of the affluent worker sample voted Labour, a higher proportion than for the manual working class as a whole. However, support for the Labour Party, like support for trade unions, was often of an instrumental kind. There was little indication of the strong loyalty to Labour that is assumed to be typical of the traditional worker. <br />The 'new working class' <br />Goldthorpe et al. tested the embourgeoisement hypothesis under conditions favourable to its confirmation, but found it was not confirmed. Instead they found that affluent manual workers differed from both the proletarian traditionalist and the middle class. They therefore suggested that affluent workers were the vanguard of an emerging new working class. While the new working class was not being assimilated into the middle class, there were two points of normative convergence between the classes: privatization and instrumental collectivism. <br />These characteristics had developed as traditional working-class norms adapted to a new situation. Lockwood (1966) believed that the privatized instrumenntalist revealed by the affluent worker study would gradually replace the proletarian traditionalist as the predominant group in the working class .<br />Evaluation <br />Savage (2005) re-examined Goldthorpe & Lockwood's data and concluded that workers had a basic working class orientation, seeing themselves as ordinary/ normal because they worked for a living whilst the upper class did not. <br />Devine (1992) returned to Luton in the late 1980s to see how things had changed. She found that workers: <br />
continued to support unions but remained instrumental collectivists.
continued to choose largely working-class friends and retained fairly traditional conjugal roles.
still had a pecuniary model of society.
retained fairly left-wing political views, but some were disillusioned with the Labour Party, and some intended to vote Conservative.
Devine concluded that they were less individualistic than the affluent workers in Goldthorpe et aI's study, and she felt that they had retained significant features of traditional working-class attitudes and lifestyle. <br />Marshall et al (1988) conducted a large survey on class in Britain in the 1980s, and found evidence of some sectionalism, instrumentalism and privatism. But they argued that these characteristics were nothing new - they dated back to the nineteenth century - and they therefore denied that there had been any major change in the working class. <br />Nobody Loves the Working Class<br />____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />Dan Pritchard<br />____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />Arguments about social class today seem to veer from one extreme to another. Does class matter any more in Britain? Or are we actually more divided than ever? In this article Dan Pritchard looks at the way the working class has been portrayed in the past and more recently, and at what this implies. <br />What do ex-Tory leaders Margaret Thatcher and John Major and Labour's Tony Blair have in common? They have all had rather strange ideas about social class. Thatcher thought we were all working- class, Major thought that Britain was classless and Blair seems to think we are all middle-class. Sociologists such as Gordon Marshall have tended to agree with the journalist Barbara Ellen who, writing in the Observer on 22 April 2004, said: 'Class isn't something you escape from or return to. Class is something you are born with and which stays with you forever: The objective identification of class is still rooted in occupation, even though the Registrar-General's Scale may have been replaced by the NS-SEC (National Statistics Socio-economic Classification) for this purpose. Who is at the very bottom? Those who can't manage to get a job, of course. <br />The writer George Orwell was a keen observer of social class. He strongly believed that Britain was the most class-ridden society on earth. Like many liberal commentators from a middle-class background, he was a great believer in the dignity of the working man - back in the chauvinistic days of the 1930s and 1940s even enlightened observers such as Orwell didn't have very much to say about women. In the book 1984, his famous and chilling novel about a totalitarian future, Orwell's hero against the abusive state, Winston Smith, says this: 'If there was hope it must lie in the Proles. In those swarming disregarded masses’ <br />‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell is an earlier novel often referred to in sociology texts. The pasty-faced, emaciated painters, decorators and builders of this depressing tale of exploited workers at the turn of the twentieth century don't seem much like the wiry, fit and strong miners described by George Orwell in ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’. Nevertheless, the heroic working-class figures in all these texts suggested that the future of humanity, however fragile, lay in those people who were at the bottom of the social heap, rather than those at the top. <br />The new working class?<br />So can we easily identify the working class today? Not according to a curious writ submitted to the law courts in 2002 by Dano Ltd, a building firm. Dano asked the courts to consider the following proposition: 'The words ‘working classes’ are not now capable of any meaningful definition.' Why had the company brought this odd case? Dano had purchased land in London which had a covenant on it dating back to 1929. This stated that the land could only be used for housing and development for 'working class' people. Dano reasoned that if the law accepted that the working class no longer existed, the company could then build high cost luxury flats on this land. <br />So, was the working class, once so admired by Orwell and Tressell, about to disappear in court? Not so. In February 2003 Justice Etherton stated: 'I am satisfied that there is a sufficient number of people who, in practical terms, would undoubtedly fall within the expression "working class".' Fair enough. But the class profile of Britain has certainly changed. Even by the 1960s sociologists had woken up to the fact that the working class was transforming. The cloth caps and tin baths in front of the fire were rapidly being relegated to the pages of history. <br />The angry young working-class men who had filled the novels of postwar Britain were being replaced by a new working-class figure who had much in common with the new middle class. Described by the sociologist David Goldthorpe as 'black-coated workers', these were routine office workers who were as trapped in the mediocrity and awfulness of their jobs as were the workers on the factory floor. The experience of deskilling was one thing the social classes now seemed to share. More recently Mike Savage (2000) noted how the skilled working-class tradesmen of the past, who were immersed in the traditions of trade unions and self-help organizations, have been replaced by the new market-driven proletarian employees of today. As deskilling has occurred, working-class collectivism has been replaced by individualism, with a resultant effect both on notions of collective identity and on class awareness. <br />In 1951, according to the old Registrar General's Scale, 70% of the UK population could be described as 'working class'. Today, the figure is between 40 and 45%. This doesn't make Tony Blair right, of course, but it certainly points to a decline in traditional manual work, with its associated traits of community, class solidarity and loyalty to your fellow man/workers that were once so beloved by George Orwell and others. <br />More worrying for some in recent times has been the emergence of a new class target for a collective fear and loathing. A section of the working class has recently been described as the 'yob class' by Andrew Neil, television journalist and former editor of the Sunday Times. Similarly, sociologists such as the American Charles Murray have, for a number of years, been highly critical of the various poor and disconnected groups at the bottom of society. For Murray, the focus is the urban 'underclass' comprising the unemployed, single mothers, drug addicts, criminals etc., whose value system is very different from that of those in work. <br />This kind of class identification - 'yobs' or a feckless underclass - seems to be in sharp contrast to the new 'superclass' mentioned, for example, in Steve Chapman's article (2003) on the middle class. At the top of the middle class we have high-status professionals commanding large salaries and all the perks that go with them. At the bottom of the social scale, researchers and social commentators such as Murray have identified a new lower class - but this is not a group that Orwell would have recognized as having the potential to 'rescue' society. It is more like a sub-stratum of people who are detached and marginalized into urban ghettos, and today this group seems increasingly demonized. <br />A new book by the right-wing commentator Ferdinand Mount (2004) seems to agree that the gap between those at the top and those at the bottom of society in Britain may be wider than it has ever been before. Mount argues that recent developments have had dramatic effects because they have: 'transformed the working class, that was the envy and amazement of foreign observers in the 19th Century, into a so called underclass that is often the subject of baffled despair: <br />Mount chronicles the contrasting fate of two 'tribes' in UK society today, the 'Uppers' and the 'Downers'. The Uppers, he claims, are winners who are interested only in the products of wealth and power. They are as capable of trying new relationships at work and at home as they are exotic new holiday destinations. The Downers, by contrast, are losers, people who, according to Mount: 'abduct, rape and murder the children of the middle classes. It is the Downers who shamble through the streets at closing time, noisy, foulmouthed and vomiting: This sort of alarming language seems full of prejudice and hate, and Mount's 'analysis' here constantly verges on fierce caricature. Moreover, the kind of drunken and disorderly behavior he describes is hardly the preserve of the lower working class, as anyone who lives in more middle-class areas would probably agree. <br />One of Mount's major themes, however, is that, because of alleged increased class segregation today, the Uppers don't really understand the Downers at all. They see little of them, apart from the odd delivery man and their portrayal in British television soaps and police dramas. This separation induces a class fear that is stoked by media representations - for example, in new television comedy shows such as Little Britain – and in the tabloid press. He argues: <br />“We see [from the media] moral and physical degradation shown with a lurid flourish that Dickens might have envied, The women are slags, either scrawny with straggly blonde hair or grotesquely fat and bulging out of their track suit bottoms, The children are surly, whining, spoilt, wolfing down their junk food with no concept of manners and not much grasp of their native language, The men - in the regulation T shirt, earring, shaven heads - are equally surly and incoherent, callous and faithless to their women”<br />Such ugly portrayals fill the anxious and uncertain Uppers with dread, according to Mount, converting the Downers into threat figures who are brooding, feral, mysterious~ It is almost as if these groups no longer inhabit the same society. This is a point also made by the writer and journalist John O'Farrell when discussing the case of Dano Ltd described earlier. O'Farrell was perplexed at the view of the company that 'working-class' people no longer existed: 'You'd think they'd never met a working class person in their lives: he argues. 'It's like we're talking about some near extinct species that could only be tracked down after days spent trekking through the urban jungle: He goes on: <br />“You can almost imagine a nature documentary in which David Attenborough encounters a surviving family member, known as 'working class' people, At first they are wary of him: the dominant male grunts and furrows his eyebrows before returning to feed on his natural diet of crisps and Tango, The mother seems anxious about her new offspring - he's still not back from the shop with her fags - but the older cubs' are more playful and before long are climbing all over David Attenborough and nicking his mobile phone”<br />The urban poor<br />O'Farrell's account is meant to be playful and humorous, of course, poking fun at the naivety of Dano. But Mount's work is deadly serious, So if, as Steve Chapman claims, nobody likes the middle class, well, very few people seem to like the working class either - particularly those poorer working-class people at the very bottom of the social scale. Simon Charlesworth's (1999) study of the lower working class is rather more sympathetic It looks at a small lower working-class community in Rotherham, a town he describes as one of the 'poorest in Europe: <br />Again, the author argues that this poor community is misunderstood by other social classes, But this is not because they are so distant, socially and materially, from the rest of society, It is, he claims, because the urban poor also find it so difficult to express their ideas and their identity in a plausible and publicly articulate form. <br />Charlesworth argues that these people €especially men - experience a lack of positive self-identity and worth, particularly in an area that has so little to offer today in terms of meaningful employment Furthermore, local male working-class cultures, which routinely involve the 'pisstake' and also a self-consciously 'bad' attitude, are utterly alien and confusing to more middleclass observers. The context is a depressing one: Charlesworth describes working-class males as having low self-esteem and feelings of insecurity and helplessness, Their frustrations are often taken out on local women, particularly in the form of verbal, and occasionally physical, abuse, <br />Like George Orwell 60 years before, Charlesworth rather admires these men, who must survive and live their lives against a backdrop of economic, political and social conditions that have changed little, regardless of the colour of the political party in office, The image offered here is that of working-class males with low self-esteem, poor prospects and a problem of self-expression, rather than the more menacing view of the new 'Downers' in Ferdinand Mount's apocalyptic vision of social class relations today. <br />Postmodernists or politicians often claim that class is dead. This seems not to be supported by the recent accounts described here. However, they do offer widely differing interpretations about the current state of the lower classes: <br />
The lower classes are still admired by some writers; but they are clearly feared by others as mysterious and dangerous.
They are seen as withdrawn and lacking in self-esteem; or else they are viewed as publicly foul-mouthed and abusive.
Their values are depicted as the same as those of the social mainstream, but their opportunities are limited; or they are said to inhabit a different moral universe altogether.
They are regarded as threatening and violent parasites; or else they are misrepresented or demonised by the media,
Whatever the reality of the material situation of the urban lower working class of today, they seem not much loved or valued, Their heroic and dignified status seems to have largely disappeared and now, in these uncertain times, they are much more likely to be demonised or ridiculed, They surely do not deserve this sort of abuse or easy caricature: they require, instead, some decent analysis, some understanding - and a little respect <br />This article shows that, although some social class might have class itself is far from dead in Britain. There is a useful summary of different views of the working class. You will also find it helpful to look up Steve Chapman's article on the middle class which appeared in SOCIOLOGY REVIEW Vol. 12, No.3. You can display the important skills of analysis and evaluation when writing about social class if you are able to 'unpick' the concept to show how it is used in different ways by different writers, and how it might have changed over time. <br />
Chapman, S. (2003) 'Nobody loves the middle class', SOCIOLOGY REVIEW VoL 12, No, 3.
Charlesworth, S, (1999) A Phenomenology of Working Class Experience, Cambridge University Press,
Mount, F. (2004) Mind the Gap: Class in Britain Now, Short Books,
Savage, M. (2000) Class Analysis and Social Transformation, Open University Press,
A Phenomenology of Working Class Experience: Simon Charlesworth<br />If Bourdieu has been accused of neglecting working-class culture by some sociologists, the same is certainly not true of the work of Simon Charlesworth. Charlesworth's (2000) study is based upon interviewing people from Rotherham, a town in Yorkshire suffering from the decline of traditional industries and high levels of unemployment. <br />Charlesworth draws upon a number of theoretical approaches in his study, including phenomenology, but the biggest influence on his work is probably Bourdieu. He makes particular use of Bourdieu's concept of habitus, which he describes as a 'distinct way of being' and 'the socially constituted principle of perception and appreciation of the social world we acquire in a particular context' (Charlesworth, 2000, p. 29). <br />Unlike Jenkins, Charlesworth sees Bourdieu's portrayal of working-class life as insightful rather than superficial or condescending. He discussed Bourdieu's work with some of those he interviewed and he found that 'people were fascinated by the ideas and knew precisely what Bourdieu was expressing'. His study attempts to build upon Bourdieu's work by providing a rich description of working-class life in Rotherham. <br />Life in Rotherham<br />Rotherham has traditionally relied upon mining and steel production for employment. However, the nearby pits and the steelworks have both closed down, leaving what Charlesworth describes as 'devastation'. At one point Rotherham had 'the largest areas of industrial dereliction in Europe'. It suffered badly during the recessions of the 1980s, losing 8,000 jobs (out of a total of 82,000) in 1981 alone. It has not benefited as much as other areas from economic revival, with rates of unemployment, poverty and long-term illness all being much higher than the national average. Charlesworth paints a bleak picture of the town: 'The place, even according to many who live here, is ugly and depressing.' Areas of greenery tend to be covered in rubbish. Shops frequently close to relocate to the nearby Meadowhall shopping mall. The houses are often in poor condition. <br />However, it is not just the physical aspects of the town that are depressing. Charlesworth argues that the ugliness of the place 'manifests itself not just in the architectural structures that pattern the space, but in the manner and bearing, the comportment and style of behaviour of the people in the town'. There are many examples of this. Charlesworth says that: <br />‘the majority seem to smoke, too many are overweight, ill, and often lame too young; and too many are clad in dirty, often cheap, clothes. Young children play, till late, on the streets, and many teenagers seem hell-bent on destroying or damaging anything that is public’ (Charlesworth, 2000).<br />Nights out<br />Friday and Saturday nights in Rotherham town centre are a key feature of the social life of many of the residents. However, even this is not exactly uplifting. People go out drinking in the pubs and clubs largely to be seen and to pick up, or to be picked up by, others. There is little in the way of meaningful conversation. Having a good body, looking healthy and dressing well enough to appear to have some money are the criteria by which people are valued. Charlesworth describes: <br />‘open-plan theme pubs and clubs, where the space is designed and used to be observed in. They are what people colloquially term 'meat' or 'cattle' markets. And, indeed, some of the men are steroid-ridden, swollen in a world where muscles matter. Men and women stand up all night and walk around in large circles, parading themselves, and surveying the value of what else is on this market, whilst also assessing what bodies compete with their own’ (Charlesworth, 2000) <br />Charlesworth claims that 'what is said is unimportant, for this is an arena in which the truth of our society is clear: it is what you are that matters. Existence is bought with the value of the flesh.' <br />The working-class habitus <br />Charlesworth believes that the working class in towns such as Rotherham develop a distinctive habitus because of the conditions under which they live. Most of the residents of Rotherham are working-class. Their lifestyle, habits, attitudes, values and physical appearance all stem from the limitations they experience as members of the working class. Charlesworth says, 'the phenomenon of class, inequality, deprivation and powerlessness must be understood through their effect on the manner in which people come to exist in the world' and through the 'states and sensibilities that are social in the sense that they are prior to a particular individual's feeling and govern the range of feelings available'. The class habitus produces 'powerful affinities and aversions to persons, things and spaces' - and this tends to reproduce classes, encouraging them to stick to things which are familiar and appealing to them. <br />Members of the working class lack the money to develop the symbolic and cultural capital which would allow them to be accepted in middle-class circles. Life involves a daily struggle to maintain their dignity and make ends meet. Taste is based upon necessity rather than upon the much greater choices open to the middle class and affluent. For example, shell suits are a popular form of dress, although they are mocked by middle-class taste. However, from the point of view of the working class in Rotherham, they are a cheap, comfortable and practical type of clothing. They are especially popular with the unemployed, who spend much of their time at home. <br />In a culture based on necessity, there is little time for the niceties of middle-class taste and culture. Those who try to adopt aspects of middle-class lifestyle may be mocked. The working-class habitus emphasizes everyday, physical experience and devalues art, literature and other aspects of culture appreciated more by the middle class. <br />Nevertheless, people are all too aware that others have more possibilities and choices than them. As one interviewee put it, 'The best we can 'ope fo' is a video and a shag, if wi lucky.' But to Charlesworth this attitude does not stem from ignorance. It is a product of the circumstances of working-class life in Rotherham. There is little point in hoping for more than a video and a shag if you are going to be constantly disappointed. Furthermore, Charlesworth argues that a central reason for the disappointment is the education system. <br />Education and speech<br />It is largely in the education system that the working class learn to devalue themselves and restrict their ambitions. The most important reason why the working class do not thrive in the education system is because their way of talking and their use of language are devalued by the education system. According to Charlesworth, working-class speech stems from 'the urgencies of a world whose., solicitations demand constant readiness which impinges upon consciousness'. Working-class people have to justify themselves to their bosses or to state agencies such as the DSS. The constant struggles of life leave little time or space for contemplation. This lack of space for contemplation leads to an immediacy in working-class speech. People get straight to the point - they avoid euphemism; they know they will not be able to get away with pretension. <br />‘Speech circles around the practical touchstones of working-class life: work and shifts; so many exchanges that go on between working men begin with 'What shift thy on?', or else 'I'm fucked this week, it's Zombie shift'; or in the absence of work, disgust at the bad treatment by the Department of Social Security’ (Charlesworth, 2000)<br />In their speech, the working class reflect the fact that what they say 'is not valued, so what they say has no consequence'. They can say almost anything without it having much effect or cost. This is reflected in deliberate coarseness and derogatory comments to one another. The closest friends or partners will greet each other with expressions like 'Nah then shag', 'Nah then shithead', 'Ahr [Our] shit-fo'-brains', 'Nah then ugly', 'Nah then yer slapper'. These forms of familiarity reflect the ways that the working class are devalued by other classes. It establishes a common bond between people who can dispense with any pretence of their own value. Anyone who is aloof or posh (for example, teachers, politicians and officials from the DSS) is deeply distrusted. <br />Not surprisingly, these ways of speaking are not valued in the education system. According to Charlesworth: <br />‘the education system enshrines the culture of the dominant class as the national culture; it elevates one form of linguistic habitus to the status of legitimate, as the form of speech befitting those who are appropriate for senior and professional positions’ (Charlesworth, 2000) <br />Success in the education system requires the use of more measured and euphemistic ways of speaking. Working-class speech is likely to be criticized by teachers and lead to a lack of educational success. Working-class speech patterns become 'hopelessly stigmatized', confirming the working class in their low status and largely confining them to jobs that require few qualifications. Knowing the way in which they are stigmatized by higher classes, the working class react by 'frequenting places that operate as protected enclaves which they can retreat to and avoid, with the help of drink and friends, the direct effects upon the body, of valuelessness'. <br />Evaluation of Charlesworth<br />Charlesworth's study provides interesting insights into the origin and nature of the habitus of the working class in Rotherham. Some sociologists have welcomed his work enthusiastically. Tim Ednesor (2000) praises Charlesworth for conducting a detailed empirical study of the culture of the working class, a group which Ednesor believes is increasingly neglected in sociological research. To Ednesor, Charlesworth's work challenges the views of those who believe the working class is disappearing. Furthermore, Ednesor comments that, 'the most impressive part of this marvelous book is that it shows how this culture is deeply enmeshed in, and emerges out of, conditions of struggle and necessity'. <br />However, there are some weaknesses in Charlesworth's work. He paints a rather bleak picture of working-class culture. It may be that Rotherham has suffered more from economic depression than most towns and cities, so the culture he describes may be untypically depressed and depressing. He fails to find much creativity or resistance in working-class culture and does not acknowledge that some people from the working class are successful in the educational system and experience upward social mobility. Charlesworth tends to portray the whole of Rotherham's working class as equally downtrodden and displays little sensitivity for differences within the working class.<br />Task <br />
Write a summary of Charlesworth’s findings
Explain and briefly evaluate why some sociologists believe that social class is still the main influence on identity in the contemporary UK (24 marks)
For further research read Beverly Skeggs (1997) – Formations of Class and Gender & Mike Savage et al. (2001)
Underclass Culture & Identity - <br />The underclass comprises those people 'under the class structure' who are economically, politically and socially marginalised and excluded. Typically, these people live between unemployment and the labour market of casual and temporary work. They usually live on state benefits or charitable aid. Encompassing the frail pensioners, the single 'trapped' parents and the long-term unemployed, they are in a sense 'outside' the system of work and even class! In 1987, Dahrendorf estimated that about 5 per cent of the British population fell within the underclass - and that this percentage was growing rapidly. <br />The idea of an underclass has a long and controversial history. Marx spoke of the lumpenproletariat (the social scum of vagrants, misfits, dregs). Booth and Mayhew described the 'dangerous classes' of 'paupers, beggars and outcasts with a repugnance to regular labour'. There is a long history of distinguishing undeserving, disreputable poor from 'respectable' people trapped in a 'cycle of deprivation' (Morris, 1994) - a debate which the box examines in greater detail. All these writings point to a heavily stigmatised group at the bottom, excluded from work, living in dire poverty. The least generous observers suspect the underclass of turning to crime and, as we shall discuss more later, this view often associates racial and underclass issues. <br />The American Sociologist Charles Murray has popularised the use of the term 'underclass'. Looking at the USA, in his book Losing Ground (1984) he charted what he saw as the failure of welfare policies, where he argued that more and more people had become dependent on the State. In the late 1980s he brought these ideas to the UK and they became serialised in The Sunday Times (26 November 1989). For Murray, this underclass lives in a different world, raises its children differently and has different values. He ponders: <br />'How is a civilised society to take care of the deserving without encouraging people to become undeserving? How does it do good without engendering vice?'. <br />In Europe, the problem of the underclass is often linked to problems of migration. Workers who cannot find work in their own countries want to go to others where work may be found. But in this process - as new arrivals, often with different ethnic backgrounds - all they can find is casual work. Algerians in France, Turks in Germany, Moroccans in Spain and Bangladeshis in the UK often confront both formal and informal barriers against their entering the regular labour market. People who have illegally joined family and friends in the European Union face an even more tenuous position, as they cannot even apply for benefits to meet basic needs. The drive for daily survival focuses the attention of underclass people more on the present. Without much prospect of work, people in the underclass live on the margins of society. <br />Although many people experience the conditions implied by the term 'underclass', the academic use of this term is problematic. 'Underclass' is often used as an abusive 'catch all' phrase that lumps together many different kinds of experiences, and then proceeds to stigmatise them. It is the most recent term – in a long line – for blaming the poor for their poverty. So sociologists have to be very careful how they come to use it. <br />The Underclass in America and Britain: Charles Murray (1984, 1989) <br />The underclass in America <br />Although not the first writer in recent times to use the term underclass, the American market liberal sociologist Charles Murray has probably done more than anyone else to popularize its usage. In Losing Ground, published in 1984, Murray argues that the USA has a growing underclass which poses a serious threat to American society. He argues that government policies are encouraging increasing numbers of Americans to become dependent on benefits. During the 1960s, welfare reforms led to an increase in the numbers of never-married black single parents, and to many black youths losing interest in getting a job. Increases in the level of benefits and changes in the rules governing them discouraged self-sufficiency. Murray argues that the growing size of the underclass is a threat to the social and economic well-being of the country because its members are responsible for a rising crime rate and the benefits paid to them are costly to tax payers. <br />The underclass in Britain <br />Murray visited Britain in 1989 and wrote an article for the Sunday Times. In it he argued that Britain too has a developing underclass, although unlike America it is neither firmly established nor is it mainly composed of minority ethnic groups. Murray defines the underclass in terms of behaviour. He says 'the "underclass" does not refer to a degree of poverty, but to a type of poverty'. These types of poor people were known to him in his youth and: <br />‘They were defined by their behaviour. Their homes were littered and unkempt. The men in the family were unable to hold a job for more than a few weeks at a time. Drunkenness was common. The children grew up ill-schooled and ill-behaved and contributed a disproportionate share to the local juvenile delinquents’ (Murray, 1989) <br />Describing himself as 'a visitor from a plague area come to see if the disease is spreading', he found signs that Britain too is being infected. These signs consist of figures showing rising rates of illegitimacy, a rising crime rate and an alleged unwillingness among many of Britain's youth to take jobs. In certain neighborhoods, traditional values such as beliefs in honesty, family life and hard work have been seriously undermined. As a consequence, increasing numbers of children are being raised in a situation where they are likely to take on the underclass values of their parents. <br />Evaluation<br />Murray's views on the underclass add little to theories of stratification. By insisting on using a cultural definition of the underclass he neglects any economic divisions that contribute to the creation of such a class. In many ways his work is better seen as a theory of poverty than as a theory of stratification. In America much of the evidence suggests that the benefits system does not have the effects he claims. <br />The evidence Murray uses to make the case for an underclass in Britain is flimsy and sometimes contradictory. He blames the underclass for its predicament, explaining the situation in terms of its own aberrant behaviour. To quote Kirk Mann, he sees the British underclass as 'criminally violent bastards who refuse to work'. <br />Most sociologists view the so-called underclass rather more sympathetically. Unlike behavioural and cultural accounts of the underclass, structural accounts tend to see the lowest strata in society as the victims of inequality. They therefore tend to make more explicit connections between the underclass and the stratification system of society as a whole.<br />Family – <br />Outline and explain 2 ways in which individuals are socialized into class identities. Include a study, concept, contemporary example & theory where possible. <br />Identity 1 way2 way Upper-ClassScott (1991) Upper-class families share common social backgrounds because of intermarriage and extended kinship networks which are largely closed to outsiders. They are made up of a fairly small number of wealthy extended families. In other words the upper class is a self-selecting and exclusive elite closed to outsiders. i.e. social closure. Mackintosh and Mooney (2000) point out that ‘wealth and privilege are not very visible. The wealthy can withdraw into a private world of fee paying schooling, private transport and health care, and social networks that are largely visible to the non-wealthyThis is reinforced by parents who encourage their offspring to choose partners from other upper class families. They socialise their children from such backgrounds into a culture of privilege, organised around common attitudes, language and exclusive social pursuits. These upper class children grow up taking for granted servants, nannies, a concern for etiquette or social conventions (i.e. addressing people in the correct fashion) socialization into high culture (e.g. classical music and opera), former participation in blood sports etc.Mackintosh and Mooney (2000) note that the concentration of tremendous wealth in the hands of the elite few is a major source of opportunity, privilege and power over others. Clearly this is seen as something worth reproducing and protecting. This is done through the family who pass on their material and non-material assets to their children in the form of inheritance. Certainly some of that unequal wealth is redistributed to the rest of society in the form of inheritance tax (which replaced the previous inadequate death tax). However despite this, Social Trends (2002) reveals that the wealthiest 1% of the UK population owned 23% of all marketable wealth, and the wealthiest 25% owned 74%, leaving the other 75% of the population to share the remaining 26%. Middle-Class King and Raynor (1981) argue that middle-class families are more child-centred than families in other classes. This is a distinctive feature of middle class families, especially in terms of passing on the educational opportunities and attitudes required for educational success. “The picture that emerges of the child in the middle class family is fairly consistent. The home provides material, intellectual and motivational resources deliberately provided by parents to further the development of the child, which grows up with the belief in its own potency, a positive attitude towards school and the expectation of educational and occupational success”As Bourdieu (1979) argues, middle class parents have more economic capital (toys, books, technology, private tuition, good homes and schools), cultural capital (values, beliefs, knowledge and language skills) and social capital (confidence, communication skills and contracts). This enables children to get the most out of life. Some sociologists claim that the socialization in middle class homes is superior to that of working class homes? Douglas (1964) argues that middle class parents take more interest in their children’s education; Newson and Newson (1963, 1965) claimed that middle class parents were more skilled in child rearing practices; Bernstein (1961, 1964, 1966) suggest that the language codes taught to by middle class parents contributed to educational success.Reay (1998) notes, middle class mothers are able to influence their child’s primary schooling more than working class mothers. They can devote more time to them rather than balancing the demands of housework, childcare & paid employment. Crucially they lacked confidence & understanding of the school system. Some mothers had negative experiences of school, which made it difficult to assist their child’s educational career. Middle class children then went on to do very well in secondary, further and higher education. The family share some common suburban norms & values that are seen as class based. Most sociologists agree that the key to understanding middle class identity is home ownership. Although owning your own home is increasingly common for working class people today, for much of the 20th C it was dominated by the middle classes, who brought houses in the suburbs of towns and cities and became a commuting class. The result was the development of a suburban lifestyle or subculture that still has a profound effect on middle class identity today. It shapes the social rules, norms and values, especially the view that being middle class is about respectability, decency and self-control. As well as this they need to communicate social position through conspicuous consumption, resistance to social change and a sense of social difference. They eat dinner in the evening, at the dining table which they share as a family. Working class mealtimes are earlier to coincide with the end of the working day, in front of the television. In reality these norms and values are most likely breaking down i.e. postmodernism. Working- ClassCarter & Coleman (2006) researched planned teenage pregnancies and reported that the risk of becoming a mother was almost ten times higher for a girl from an unskilled background compared to a professional background. In interviews with 41 teenage mums, they found that many spoke of the norm of settling down early: most of their own mums were fulltime mothers, many of whom had been teenage mothers themselves. For the girls in the study, family background, and in particular poverty and disadvantage in childhood, played a major part in their decision to have a baby, which they believed would give them a new identity and purpose. Interestingly, and contrary to the media message, only a minority of interviewees regretted their decision. The family socializes people into working class identities through the creation of tight knit communities built around traditional industries e.g. shipbuilding, coal mining, steel mills etc…). They had strong awareness and pride of the social class position and their ‘them (i.e. workers) and us (i.e. bosses)’ attitude. They had large extended families, where their parents, children, grandparents and cousins all lived close together and were important as they acted as a mutual support system offering economic (i.e. finance & job seeking), social (i.e. child care and supporting the sick and elderly) and emotional assistance. Studies have shown that it was important for a working man’s identity that he provides for his wife and children. The male was clearly the head of household i.e. the breadwinner. Children were often brought up to have very limited aspirations. Although some working class children benefitted from education, most left school at 15/16 to go to work e.g. Billington et al. (1998) show that in mining communities ‘boys were destined to become miners and girls to be the wives of miners’. Adult children often lived close to their parents and saw them on a regular basis. Under-Class Murray (1994) sees the underclass as a ‘new rabble’ with a totally different culture. They are work shy, prefer to live off crime and welfare and they make irresponsible parents. This culture of dependency sees families not fending for themselves but caught in a ‘poverty trap’ of welfare dependency. Dean and Taylor-Gooby (1992) argues that people in the underclass share the same values as everyone else, they merely lack the opportunity of achieving themSaunders (1990) argues that people in the underclass become demoralized and apathetic by being constantly denied employment opportunities. <br />Media<br />Outline and explain 2 ways in which individuals are socialized into class identities through this agent of socialization. Include a study, concept, contemporary example & theory where possible. <br />Identity 1 way2 way Upper-ClassThe Upper Class utilize the media to further their own interests. Dominant (hegemonic) ideology is transmitted through media messages, which creates a shared ‘way of life’ based upon disseminated upper class (bourgeoisie) norms and values. The traditional landed aristocracy and the super rich (i.e. both the entrepreneurs and the jet set) are talented at using the media to further their own interests. The royal family use the media to represent themselves as iconic symbols of monarchy, class & privilege e.g. Princess Diana, The Queen, William and Harry. Characters like Sir Alan Sugar & the Beckhams use the media to further their careers (e.g. modeling and captain of industry) and to make more money. This can backfire however and a negative image against their interests can be portrayed e.g. The negative treatment of Diana is well documented in the press, David Beckhams and more recently Tiger Woods affairs and the outrage caused by Prince Harry who wore a Nazi costume to a fancy dress party. Jones (1998) suggested that media coverage of the death of Princess Diana effectively prevented any criticism of her privileged lifestyle. Middle-Class Jhally & Lewis (1992) demonstrated that 90% of American TV characters are middle class, including many Afro American characters Glennon and Butsch (1982) found that middle class families were usually portrayed as being able to cope with problems while many working class fathers were portrayed in a comic way New Media technology influences social class identities. Brundson (1997) shows how middle-class people saw satellite dishes as being tasteless and a symbol of the working class. During the previous world cup, many working class people expressed their support by flying flags outside their cars and windows. This was seen as tasteless and vulgar by the higher classes. Nationalism, especially in the media is now seen negatively, strongly associated with the working classes. Gradually of course new media technology can become part of popular culture, which has probably happened to satellite dishes. There has also been a strong UK backlash against celebrating national identity and in changing its negative representation in the media. Working- ClassNewspapers in the UK take on a political position and target socio-economic groups. E.g. The Daily Mirror successfully portrayed itself as the newspaper which best represented the political and social interests of the traditional working class the 1970’s. Some media commentators have suggested that the editors of such influential newspapers are able to ‘set an agenda’ (agenda setting) i.e. to select the issues which they want their working class audience to think about and to act upon. Today it is the Sun that seems to be the most influential working class paper e.g. at every major general election since Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1979, whoever the Sun has supported has won. In the recent 2006 Conservative win, The Sun newspaper infamously switched sides (i.e. from Labour to Conservative), a move that directly led to them gaining power. Media representations of different social classes also influences identity. Consider television programmes that focus on working class culture. Programmes such as shameless show the working class culture as aggressive, assertive and good at playing with the social security system, similar to the ways in which The Royle Family illustrated working class life as being based around a front room and watching television. Medhurst (1999) shows how a group of middle class students watching The Royle Family believed that it was an accurate portrayal of working class life in the contemporary UKUnder-Class <br />Education <br />Outline and explain 2 ways in which individuals are socialized into class identities through this agent of socialization. Include a study, concept, contemporary example & theory where possible. <br />Identity 1 way2 way Upper-ClassThe main influence on social class identities is the type of school a person attends. Schooling is an important part of upper-class socialization, which takes place mainly in exclusive and expensive private/public schools surrounded by cultural signals indicating an elevated class position e.g. Eton, Harrow, and Winchester. Such schools socialise upper-class children into the value of conservatism, respect for tradition, nationalism and acceptance of authority and hierarchy as natural outcomes of superior breeding and upbringing. They are encouraged to see themselves as elite. Factors such as the crest of a school, or the sports and school trips can be indicators of social class. Even those who are given full bursaries/grants so that their parents do not pay towards their fees will be influenced by this.Middle-Class Bourdieu (1977) argues from a Marxist perspective that schools are middle class institutions run by middle class teachers for the benefit of middle class children. Therefore middle class pupils feel like a ‘fish in water’ at schools, colleges and universities. Working class children generally feel like ‘fishes out of water’ in education as they find the whole experience isolating and daunting. What goes on in schools in terms of what is regarded as acceptable knowledge, language and behavior is defined by middle class professionals. The home experience of middle class children equip them with the right values, ways of speaking, knowledge etc., for interacting with middle class teachers. The middle class advantage is referred to as cultural capital, supplemented by economic capital (i.e. middle class parents send their children to private nurseries and schools and to invest in private tutoring, computers etc.) and social capital (middle class parents may use their knowledge and contacts to further the interests of their children e.g. work experience). The education system favors middle class children and fails the working class. Basil Bernstein (1961, 1970, 1972) posits that speech is a very important part of social class identity. This medium of communication and learning is greatly affected by the way that we talk i.e. differences in speech patterns. Middle class children are socialized into an elaborated code i.e. rich and detailed explanations. Working class children are socialized in to a restricted code i.e. a kind of simple shorthand that uses simple and often unfinished sentences. As the formal curriculum and the teachers who generally deliver it are predominantly middle class, education adopts an elaborated code. As such middle class children have higher achievement and working class children tend to fail. Roker (1996) noted how public school girls are socialized into having high career aspirations and into careful planning of their futures. She contrasted this with girls attending a state comprehensive who had only very vague ideas of what they might do in the future The formal curriculum influences social class identities. The teaching of Latin (i.e. a subject high in cultural capital) is likely to have a different understanding of society than a student who studies vocational courses (i.e. with far less cultural capital) Power et al. (2003) show a close relationship between children from middleclass backgrounds, achievement at the top public schools and gaining places at elite universities. She suggests that this is not only a result of high educational achievement, but that these schools actively encourage applications to the elite universiti9es and see this as a measure of their success. Students attending these schools who do achieve academic excellence can perceive their experience as personal failure, especially those whose parents work in academia.Savage (1995) argues that professionals (i.e. doctors and lawyers gain their middle class intellectual identity through their long and successful socialization through the education system. They value (i.e. Bourdieu’s capital) cultural assets such as knowledge, qualifications, lifestyle and values, and feel it is important to pass these on to their children from this background. Managers who have more insecure employment and greater economic capital seek to socialize their children through a long and successful educational career so that they may earn greater social mobility and gain more secure employment) (i.e. high status/rewards in the upper middle classes)Working- ClassPritchard (2005) blame the negative experience of the educational system for working class indifference and cynicism, which consequently results in them devaluing themselves and restricting their ambitions to being disappointed in life. They tend to do less well than higher social classes, which in turn leads them onto low status/reward manual labour occupations. Paul Willis (1977) accepts the Marxist view that education is closely linked to capitalism, but this is not a simple/direct relationship. He used a range of qualitative research methods (i.e. observations & group interviews to study 12 working class boys during their last year of school and first few months at work. They formed a friendship group with a particular counter culture attitude to school…Under-Class <br />Social class and educational attainmenthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr2repzDKwQ<br />Sociology - Social class and educationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMvMCqKRO_s<br />Social class and educational attainmenthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXHzmRftwUw<br />Understanding Classhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymt72RgM9e4&feature=related<br />Social Classhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHdmvw3wip0&feature=related<br />Peer Group <br />Outline and explain 2 ways in which individuals are socialized into class identities through this agent of socialization. Include a study, concept, contemporary example & theory where possible. <br />Identity 1 way2 way Upper-ClassScott (1991) argues that the peer group is central as it functions outside schools as an ‘old boy/tie network’ in adulthood, which confers economic and cultural advantages on its members. This is maintained through gentlemen’s clubs, country house weekend and the social season e.g. Ascot, Henley etc.Middle-Class Working- ClassBrah (1999) studied a group of white skinheads in Kempton Dene in the West Midlands. He shows how the working class identity was crucial for this group of males who worked hard at constructing a culture of whiteness. They followed the norms and values of a key leader called Adam, copying his cultural practices. The creation of a cultural comfort zone (based upon social class and a shared culture/identity) is the key fact in the formation of a peer group. Charlesworth (1999) notes that the working class is often misunderstood by other social classes because they experience negative self-identity and low self-esteem. They compensate for feelings of insecurity and helplessness by exaggerating working class culture which routinely involves the ‘piss take’ and a self-consciously ‘bad’ attitude, things which are utterly alien and confusing to more middle class observers (i.e. Prichard 2005) who blame their negative experience of the educational system for their indifference and cynicism, which consequently results in them devaluing themselves and restricting their ambitions to being disappointed in life.Working class people are socialized into working class identities through a strong sense of loyalty to their occupational peer group. This community was demonstrated in their membership of trade unions and working men’s clubs, as well as their tendency to vote for the Labour Party, which was traditionally seen as the party that best represented the interests of manual workers. It was certainly true that up until the 1970’s Labour could depend upon 80% of the working class electorate to vote for them and for this to be reinforced by trade unions. However with Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government came into power, destroyed trade unions and traditional heavy industries and sought to create a new working class. This new working class was no longer hostile to capitalism or class injustice as they now saw it as a way of increasing their living standards (i.e. the Functionalist idea of meritocracy). Nor did they align themselves loyal to the Labour party. They replaced this idea of peer group community and collectivism with instrumentalism and individualism (i.e. putting themselves and their immediate families first). They are defined much like the middle classes now i.e. through the affluence of their consumption patterns rather than through their occupation (production). Under-Class The right wing commentator Ferdinand Mount (2004) argues that the peer group have socialized working class people in the contemporary UK into a tribe called the ‘Downers’. They spend most of their time drunk and disorderly, and they are foul mouthed: “The women are slags, either scrawny with straggly blonde hair, or grotesquely fat and bulging out of their tracksuit bottoms. The children are surly, whining, spoilt, wolfing, down their junk food with no concept of manners and not much grasp of their native language. The men – in the regulation T shirt, earing, shaven heads – are equally surly and incoherent, callous and faithless to their women”This picture is not dissimilar to that painted of the working class by the media commentator Tony Parsons (1992) when he claimed:“Something has died in the working class: a sense of grace, feelings of community, their intelligence, decency and wit. The ‘salt of the earth’ have become the ‘scum of the earth’, a huge tribe of tattooed White trash. Today the working class are peasants Jones and Jones (1992) does not agree with the view that the family socialise the underclass into a different set norms and values than mainstream society. Their study into the poor and the long term unemployed suggest that those living in poverty have the same ideas about work and family as everyone else. They have the same feelings of shame and guilt about getting into debt, asking others for help, insecurity and lack of dignity. <br />Religion <br />Outline and explain 2 ways in which individuals are socialized into class identities through this agent of socialization. Include a study, concept, contemporary example & theory where possible. <br />Identity 1 way2 way Upper-ClassMarx argued that religion supported social class identity/inequality, often presenting it as Gods will e.g. The rich man and his castle, The poor man and his agate, God made them high and lowly, And ordered their estate. (All things Bright and Beautiful) Middle-Class Church attendance is higher for the idle classes, although that does not mean that they are more likely to be religious. There is evidence that attendance in church provides a degree of status within communities, rural communities in particularWorking- ClassReligions such as Rastafarianism are likely to have a broader working class base, as they are often located in the inner city communities of the UK. Glock and Stark (1965) Recognize that sects (i.e. small religious groups with a charismatic leader or founder) often oppose the status quo and are therefore supported by the socially deprived and underprivileged e.g. Puritan sects in the 1800s drew their support from the working classes. Under-Class <br />Workplace<br />Outline and explain 2 ways in which individuals are socialized into class identities through this agent of socialization. Include a study, concept, contemporary example & theory where possible. <br />Identity 1 way2 way Upper-ClassMiddle-Class Savage (1992) middle class doctors and the evidence from the working class area in Cheadle where a ‘practical flavour’ was observed, both indicate a strong relationship between occupation and class identity in the UK. Savage (1995) notes the difference between the middle class fractions of professionals and managers in terms of cultural attitudes and pursuits e.g. professionals are more likely to take an interest in the arts than managers He notes differences in the cultural values of privately employed professionals and those employed by the state e.g. the former tend to be highly individualistic, while the latter tend to be more community orientated.Individuals are socialized into middle class identities through their employment in non-manual occupations. This is the type of traditional white collar work employment that defines this social class group. It is an important source of income and status. Working- ClassAn important factor influencing people’s social class identity is the workplace. Individuals are socialized into working class identities through traditional manual labour occupations. It is an important source of status and community. This type of ‘blue collar’ work defines this social class group (e.g. mining and factory work) and creates a very strong sense of their economic and social class position. This awareness was the primary factor shaping a traditional working class identity that was dominant for most of the 20th C and which is still influential in some parts of the UK today. It was reinforced daily by the nature of working class collective communities (i.e. manual workers tended to in urban clusters close to their place of work), membership of trade unions, leisure time spent in working men’s clubs, reading tabloid newspapers and identifying with a political party they saw as representing their class interests (i.e. Labour up until the 1970 general elections could rely on 80% of the working class electorates political allegiance that was reinforced by trade union support). Billington et al. (1998) notes that such dangerous and demanding work produced a working class male culture of dependence which continued outside working hours into leisure and other activities Braverman ( ) White-collar workers are experiencing radical changes in the workplace due to technology, restructuring and the introduction of working practices found in call centres. This has resulted in deskilling, and has led to a reduction in pay, living standards and status. They have experienced proletarianization i.e. they have become similar to the working class in terms of economic lifestyles and consequently cultural outlook. Therefore the traditional categorization of the middle classes through non-manual occupations is not completely accurate any longer. The changing workplace has socialized white-collar workers into a seemingly lower social class group. They now have more in common with working class identity and culture. Under-Class <br />Postmodernism – Does Social Class Still Exist?<br />