April 05, 2013

50 Shades of Class

This is a guest blog. Topic? “50 Shades of Class” by Sophie Rudge


Just in case you were unaware of your position in society, the top dogs from the BBC and a couple of Universities are now able to inform you! Brilliant right? Wrong. 50 might have been a slight over exaggeration but there are now in fact 7 types of class.  Also 4 of these are what the creators of this list would call economically unstable. Now call me suspicious but I couldn’t help but think this is some sort of national name and shame. Stay with me here. This new research, formulated by the BBC and University professors (who we can assume are middle class) underlines the financial failings of over half these new classes. I would question the deliberateness of this shaming; a way of addressing the so called lower classes in a manner that directly interrogates their apparently insufficient contributions to the economy.

Sophie Rudge is a 19 year old English Literature student currently in her second year of University and has recently started her own blog. You can follow her here @SophieHRudge.

(Note from Emma) This post is in response to the recent news that Britain now apparently has 7 social classes. We can also now take an online test to find out which category we fall into. It’s like the feudal system all over again! Here are the classes explained by the Independent:

The social classes

Precariat: This is the most deprived class of all with low levels of economic, cultural and social capital. The every day lives of members of this class are precarious.

Traditional Working Class: This class scores low on all forms of the three capitals although they are not the poorest group. The average age of this class is older than the others.

Emergent Service Workers: This new class has low economic capital but has high levels of ’emerging’ cultural capital and high social capital. This group are young and often found in urban areas.

Technical Middle Class: This is a new, small class with high economic capital but seem less culturally engaged. They have relatively few social contacts and so are less socially engaged.

New Affluent Workers: This class has medium levels of economic capital and higher levels of cultural and social capital. They are a young and active group.

Established Middle Class: Members of this class have high  levels of all three capitals although not as high as the Elite. They are a gregarious and culturally engaged class.

Elite: This is the most privileged class in Great Britain who have high levels of all three capitals. Their high amount of economic capital sets them apart from everyone else.

  • What exactly are you trying to say Sophie? I’m not sure that there is any attempt at shaming anyone. Actually, by labelling one of the new classes Emergent Service Workers there is a recognition that there is a class of people who are financially impecunious yet nevertheless contribute significantly and are also as likely to move upwards to the Established Middle Class or Elite as they are to remain where they are. These new class labels are far less rigid than the old working, middle, upper middle and upper and I think reflect a more towards a more meritocratic society.

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