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Why do people care about class?

(254 Posts)
PeggyCarter Thu 31-Jan-13 21:37:10

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PeggyCarter Fri 01-Feb-13 20:20:30

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MiniTheMinx Fri 01-Feb-13 20:24:55

The class system is the cause of the inequality. The class system only reflects the inequality.

MiniTheMinx Fri 01-Feb-13 20:25:28

* Class system is not the cause of inequality.

MiniTheMinx Fri 01-Feb-13 20:27:26

Joyful, Jilly cooper wrote a very amusing book years ago

www.goodreads.com/book/show/618334.Class?a=5&origin=related_works It's very funny, 20 years later I still remember snipe the black lab

mercibucket Fri 01-Feb-13 20:46:49

how many people own 1/3 of the land in the uk?

1700

how many people own 2/3 of the land in the uk?

200 000

who are these people?

mostly the monarchy, aristocracy and gentry

how long have they owned the land for?

don't know but i'd guess up to a thousand years in skme cases. very few will be johnny come latelys

class not important? confused

mercibucket Fri 01-Feb-13 20:54:25

this looked interesting
http://www.earlhamsociologypages.co.uk/socclassintro.html

CombineBananaFister Fri 01-Feb-13 21:04:00

I am with maryz- inverted class snobbery is becoming as much of a problem as actual class snobbery. Don't pretend to care, i'ts cool to be disaffected and not give a shit.
I also appreciate people think current politics alienate them because their 'too rich and have it too easy' maybe they do, but what's worse to me are the politicians who pretend to be there with you on the breadline while they are fucking you over on their greedy expenses forms - far more insulting. And really how long are we going to go on blaming Thatcher, it's embarassing.

countrykitten Fri 01-Feb-13 21:14:19

Really agree about the Thatcher thing - it really pisses me off.

GrendelsMum Fri 01-Feb-13 21:28:30

I agree with the people on this thread who have said that it is very, very important to be aware of class - in as far as the cultural capital and aspirations that our families shape in us play a major role not only in people's life choices but in their access to health, justice and education in this country.

GrendelsMum Fri 01-Feb-13 21:30:00

PuddleJumper - on the more fun side, if you want a fairly light-hearted but insightful guide to class through the medium of interior decor and fashion, you might want to watch the 3 Channel4 documentaries by Grayson Perry, still available on 4OD

afterdinnerkiss Fri 01-Feb-13 21:30:25

gothannegesses thanks for the reminder about the concept of Cultural Capital - i remember studying social class intensely in sociology (at my comp) whilst dreaming of (a now achieved) mobility.

social class pervades every aspect of our lives - the resources of the school you went to, the quality of teaching there, the Cultural Capital your parents pass on to you contribute to the university you go to and how well you get on there - social class also shapes who you marry and how your children speak and how well they do in their lives. miserable but true.

PeggyCarter Fri 01-Feb-13 21:31:58

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PeggyCarter Fri 01-Feb-13 21:33:38

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Arisbottle Fri 01-Feb-13 21:40:49

I think you are very lucky if you are not aware of class.

I care about the fact that people from my background tend to earn less, be less well educated, be less healthy, less likely to own property and therefore have secure housing and live shorter lives that most people who would identify themselves as middle class.

I agree that class is not a simple things anymore, it is not about money or even the paper you read but lots of social messages.

I care that when I managed to achieve my first good job, having overcome many obstacle thrown in my path, I was made to feel unwelcome because I was seen as thick and a bit rough . I care that a teacher once told me that kids from council estates don't go to university , never mind Oxford or Cambridge. I care that my son's grammar school is packed with children from " middle class" homes.

GrendelsMum Fri 01-Feb-13 21:46:37

I think if you're not aware of class, it may well be because your friends are very homogenous in cultural capital, although they're different in levels of education and income. Or of course, it might be that you've always put it down as 'that's just how X does things and it's different to how Y does things'. My mum is not only an anthropologist but non-British, so for her the class system is endlessly fascinating, and she finds it pretty easy to allocate anyone into a social grouping.

PeggyCarter Fri 01-Feb-13 21:50:30

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Arisbottle Fri 01-Feb-13 21:58:04

I suspect that is another factor grendels, most of mine and DH's relatives have been in benefits for much of their lives. Most of my friends through work are teachers , friends from my former job and DH's job are mostly very high earners in the private sector.

We are quite aware that we don't really fit in with either group. My closest friends tend to be people like us, those from tough backgrounds who have cash to indulge our love of bling.

chandellina Fri 01-Feb-13 22:00:18

JuliaScurr, all the political parties have lots of well educated people. Chip on your shoulder?

BigAudioDynamite Fri 01-Feb-13 22:36:07

I think the reason people dont care about class in RL/ on a day to day basis...is because generally people spend time with people who are the same class, so you maybe dont think about it so much.

On the internet/mumsnet...people from all backgrounds come together.

My class is important to me. I feel defined by it. It determines a persons culture.

GrendelsMum Fri 01-Feb-13 22:46:56

Here's a nice summing up of the idea of 'cultural capital':

"Pierre Bourdieu pioneered the concept of cultural capital, which consists of familiarity with particular types of culture or activities, which can act as a powerful barrier to – or facilitator of – social mobility. Cultural capital is used to describe cultural goods, knowledge and experience which confer power or status in the social hierarchy. Here the relationship to social mobility is that cultural knowledge, goods and experiences can help to bridge access to social groups and ownership of it can bring power and social advantage. Cultural knowledge and familiarity may, thus, act as a ‘hidden’ barrier to social progress for those that do not possess it or for those that are associated with the ‘wrong’ forms of cultural capital."

There's also a concept of "social capital": "Social capital is usually used to refer to the network of relationships (in terms of both quantity and quality) that derive from a particular social position or group membership"

"Webster et al. (2004) found that few of the socially excluded young people studied had established social networks beyond their immediate circle, which restricted the wider support and opportunities available to them. ... On the other hand, high levels of bonding social capital among middle class communities, and within the ‘middle class’ as a whole, might underpin and help to explain the apparent ability of middle class parents to protect their less able children from downward social mobility, as identified by Saunders (1995:36-7; 2002:563-4), Lucas (2001) and others (see Section 6). For example, one study found that 56 per cent of children whose parents have a professional career wish to have a professional career, compared to 13 per cent of those whose parents are partly skilled (Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit 2003). There is a further theme of importance concerning social mobility and social capital. ... Perri 6 (1997) found that middle class people had much more diverse social networks than working class people, with extensive weak ties with, for instance, former colleagues and acquaintances, which can be helpful to middle-class children."

So you might sum 'social capital' up as the idea that it's much easier to get work experience in a TV company if your best friend's mum works there. 'Cultural capital' might be that the teenager who arrives at the TV company and dresses 'right' and talks about the 'right' films / books / music / news stories will be seen as more intelligent and better suited to the role.

Sorry, mega-post but I hope it helps!

PeggyCarter Fri 01-Feb-13 22:54:44

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chandellina Fri 01-Feb-13 22:57:15

I do consider myself lucky to have had the opportunities I've had by virtue of being a nice middle class girl, and don't blame those with less opportunity for resenting it.

But my education and achievements have probably had even more to do with the expectations around me from family and peers that supported me on those paths.

Society should encourage everyone to achieve and aspire, and follow through with actual opportunity, whatever your background. (ie meritocracy)

chandellina Fri 01-Feb-13 23:00:06

Cultural and social capital thing is bang on, for example people are most likely to hire people just like themselves. I have definitely benefited from this bias.

Arisbottle Fri 01-Feb-13 23:00:46

But some people need a little more encouragement and support than others. My children need very little additional support, I am quite happy for them to be sidelined so others can have the spotlight.

It is why my son's grammar school annoys me so much , I clench my teeth whenever I enter it. Full of children who already have lots of advantages whilst those who lack the contacts, supportive parents etc are left to rot in some of the worst schools in the country.

LaFataTurchina Fri 01-Feb-13 23:01:31

YY Chandellina - I'm the same (ie, nice middle class girl, supportive family, wishes everyone could get the same encouragement to achieve that I did)

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