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to ask why the UK is so obsessed with classes?

(67 Posts)
marghini Fri 01-Jan-16 20:00:12

I noticed both here on Mumsnet and in many other venues a lot of discussions about classes.

Since I am not British and talking about classes is really not a thing where I am from, I can't quite wrap my head around this: why do Brits care so much about classes?

Please enlighten this ignorant foreigner!

PseudoBadger Fri 01-Jan-16 20:02:18

I'm starting a swimming one on Wednesday. And just gave up DD's dancing one as she hated it. I wouldn't say I'm obsessed.

Arfarfanarf Fri 01-Jan-16 20:03:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NickNacks Fri 01-Jan-16 20:03:27

School classes?
Social classes?
Activity classes?

Either way I'm not obsessed with any of them and nor is anyone i know hmm

catfordbetty Fri 01-Jan-16 20:04:35

First of all, tell us if you are sitting on a couch, settee or sofa.

PseudoBadger Fri 01-Jan-16 20:06:12

Are you in the living room or front room? Or drawing room hmm

NickNacks Fri 01-Jan-16 20:06:54

It's the sitting room wink

OwlinaTree Fri 01-Jan-16 20:07:14

Because it's intrinsically linked to so many aspects of life chance/expectations.

I don't 'care' about social classes, but in my professional life I have to adapt and plan for difference in socio-economic background and expectations.

marghini Fri 01-Jan-16 20:08:17

Sorry I meant social classes!!

unlimiteddilutingjuice Fri 01-Jan-16 20:09:15

Most societies have different social classes, its not a British thing. IMO: its healthy to be open about social class and be able to discuss it.

As for the reason we are "obsessed"- we used to have a particularly rigid and formalised class system (a la Downtown) so perhaps that has something to do with it.

Atomik Fri 01-Jan-16 20:10:57

They aren't obsessed as much as the threads of a culture are wound and weaved over generations of history. So the culture today, you could untangle from the influence of the class system as easily as you could untangle Italian culture from the influence of Catholism.


Possibly v. subjective.

Just, having been away most of my adult life, that's what it looks like to me. Sort of, it's just like everywhere else in terms of an entanglement of culture and its long term influences happening over massive gobs of time. And like everywhere else... it weaves its own unique flavour.

DG2016 Fri 01-Jan-16 20:16:25

It's not true that only the UK has it. Indian castes are much more extreme. Go to most parts of the world and you can distinguish the haves from the have nots. Go to Nigeria and you will find which groups tend to rule. Look at Korea. Examine China. Even the book I am reading on North Korea shows all the class stratification there. It is just how we are made - the fittest survive and we evolve.

redexpat Fri 01-Jan-16 20:21:20

Well you grow up thinking that your life is normal and that most other people live like you do, then at some point you realise that other people do or say things differently. Then you realise that these things are linked, and certain groups have different life chances depending on how they grew up. It's a bit hard to escape when one school has produced 19 of our prime ministers.

echt Fri 01-Jan-16 20:23:55

Class permeates every aspect of British life, though it is not as rigidly delineated as it used to be. I find the openness refreshing, as compared withe the false classlessness of Australia where I live.

marghini Fri 01-Jan-16 20:26:52

I am certainly aware that a harsh class division is very much present in many countries in the world, not just the UK.

However, it seems to me like the British society cares more about social classes than other European countries.

Perhaps I am wrong, I don't know. I am just sharing my impressions!

BurningBriquette Fri 01-Jan-16 20:28:38

I like Yoga classes.

youcankeepyourhead Fri 01-Jan-16 20:29:17

My friend goes on about this.

She's from South Africa.

Cos it's not like that's a society of haves and have-nots hmm

unlimiteddilutingjuice Fri 01-Jan-16 20:29:32

"It is just how we are made - the fittest survive and we evolve."
Bloody hell DG2016, that is a bit bleak. Social inequality (which is what we really mean when we talk about class) may be widespread but it is not inevitable. Norway is a more equal society than the US for example, because they've made the choice to be.

RaisingSteam Fri 01-Jan-16 20:35:22

It's like the weather, there's no clear classification and it's constantly changing - so an endless source of fascination for us. Rigid class divisions (like in Downton Abbey) are history now but the leftovers do permeate a lot of life. That's my my DC have a "Grandma and Grandpa" on one side and "Nanna and Grandad" on the other. Doesn't matter, but it's a throwback to DH's family and mine being of very different classes a few generations ago.

RaisingSteam Fri 01-Jan-16 20:36:43

OK I know someone of MN's 5 million subscribers will shred my example but it's that kind of thing.

marghini Fri 01-Jan-16 20:54:08

Raisingsteam can you please explain to me what you mean? I am
not British so I don't get the differencesmile

"That's my my DC have a "Grandma and Grandpa" on one side and "Nanna and Grandad" on the other."

ScOffasDyke Fri 01-Jan-16 21:01:41

Grandma/grandpa are middle class. Nanna/grandad are lower class. Or Northern

Krampus Fri 01-Jan-16 21:09:19

I'm English born and bred and don't give a stuff about social class, none of my friends or family seem to either. It's not something that gets discussed, hardly ever. Nope, not even at work. Pretty much the only time I hear anything about social class is in the media when there is a slow news day and on here.

Lived in the US and heard lots of digs about blue collar and certain poorer sectors of the community. I spoke to a Polish guy on holiday and mentioned the large Polish community around me, he was incredibly rude about the type of Polish people who moved here and called them a particular word. The equivalent of our Chav I assume. I think people from all countries have opinions about other soci economic groups within their culture. In the UK class is a word bandied lazily about but really it describes not a whole lot.

mimishimmi Mon 04-Jan-16 20:45:16

Every society has classes and are obsessed with them, whether they care to admit it or not.

DonkeyOaty Mon 04-Jan-16 21:05:56

Boot room v porch

<taps nose>

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