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Definitions of class in England 2012

(25 Posts)
MiniLovesMinxPies Mon 31-Dec-12 17:35:01

Capitalists, or bourgeoisie, own the means of production and purchase the labor power of others

Workers, or proletariat, do not own any means of production or the ability to purchase the labor power of others. Rather, they sell their own labor power.

A small, transitional class known as the petite bourgeoisie own sufficient means of production but do not purchase labor power. (middle class fluid, with increases throughout period 1945-1980) this is being hollowed out under advanced capitalism with more of the middle class being thrown into the mass of proletariat.

Class is thus determined by property relations not by income or status. These factors are determined by distribution and consumption, which mirror the production and power relations of classes.

In short if you sell you labour to someone else who appropriates a value from the sale of the goods and services you are working class.

Who pays your wages OP?

AMumInScotland Mon 31-Dec-12 17:22:19

MN is the only place I've ever seen/heard anyone care - sociaologists and advertisers use A/B/C etc based on people's jobs and therefore income. Whatever "class" you decide to label yourself and others as is only going to give you the vaguest idea of what they are like as people.

MiniLovesMinxPies Mon 31-Dec-12 17:14:47

My family would be considered as upper class, as would my DH's, as we have a titled uncle or something somewhere, but I would consider myself as UMC

I have just fallen off my chair laughing. If you have an uncle, why don't you know where to locate this important indicator of your social class?

FellatioNelson Sun 30-Dec-12 20:21:02

These days I would say:

Working Class
Lower Middle
Middle Middle
Upper Middle

I think we need the distinctions between types of MC because the middle class is such a huge and all-encompassing tranche these days, which defies specific classification otherwise. What used to be the WC is much much smaller than it once was, and we know have the underclass beneath it. There was a time about 30 or more years ago, when you could know exactly what to expect from someone who was middle class, but these days that is not the case.

People have moved from being previously WC to MC, purely by dint of a good income, especially if they earned it though trade, so they would probably be called lower MC. WC people who have been very well educated, and have probably gone on to have professions will become middle MC as adults, even if they become extremely affluent they are rarely though of as more than MMC. At least not by the UMCs, for whom it is not about income or even education, but about background, accent, values, subtle social indicators and so forth. A high income helps, obviously, but no amount of money will make you UMC if you are not.

Whereas I think the Upper Middles are born UM and remain UM, irrespective of their academic achievement or their financial trials and tribulations. Once you have been UMC even if your income drops to a very meagre level, your status as UMC rarely does.

Social mobility tends to happen from WC through LMC to MMC, but rarely outside of that.

The underclass tends to stay where it is (on the whole) as does the UMC and above, whereas there is loads of movement between WC and MMC.

I am not sure it can be defined by income alone.

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 18:45:13

well what is it then

Tortington Sun 30-Dec-12 18:39:16

0.25% - cite your stats immediatley!

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 18:36:10

so everyone is working class but just don't like to admit it? that can't be true, there are some who believe everyone's middle class! and seeing as only 0.25% of the population are upper class....

MrsRebeccaDanvers Sun 30-Dec-12 18:30:21

Class definately isn't defined by income. It has far more to do with taste, values and aspirations. A lot of people who think they are middle class because of what they own and where they shop are, in fact, well off working class.

Wishfulmakeupping Sun 30-Dec-12 18:23:21

Agree with Lizzie my OH is a tradesman who easily outearns me a graduate with senior role with BA hons and my managers who would all be educated to masters as a minimum, but on the usual scale he would be working class-even though he's on much more money and he had to study for 4 years to qualify whereas a degree takes 3

PeggyCarter Sun 30-Dec-12 18:22:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

insancerre Sun 30-Dec-12 18:20:59

Who cares?
But I do like custy's list

bakingaddict Sun 30-Dec-12 18:19:44

Class will always be one of those things that shifts and changes and can never be totally pinpointed. To some people it's not just about what you do for a living but what your parents and parents parents etc did for a living, the type of school you went to, how you hold your fork.

If you earn 100K, your children go to private school but you yourself went to a state comp and your dad was a bus driver in many people's eyes they will define you as working class because you haven't got that certain pedigree. People make the rules to suit themselves and it's best not to fret or lose sleep about it

ChristmasNamechangeBridezilla Sun 30-Dec-12 18:19:13

I thought I might be middle class due to professional job, university education, own home etc but I'm not because my DH is the higher earner and he's in construction, a bricklayer by trade, so we are working class.

Tortington Sun 30-Dec-12 18:18:33

custy's definition
underclass - social housing benefit reliant

working class mostly everyone

middle class - what mostly everyone thinks they are but you aren't just becuase you own your own house and have your own business. mostly have horses, privately educate and refer to working class trends as gauche and common.

upper - play polo sit on charity boards ( for something to do cos they have so much money they do shit all else) they have land and people to farm it.

Monarchy - usually have some sort of crown, the tax payer pays for them ( that will be the working class then) they have no right to the gross wealth that they have and should be shot.

LizzieVereker Sun 30-Dec-12 18:16:36

The problem with demographic lists like this is the assumption that incomes rise as you go up the categories. For example, a self employed plumber (skilled manual worker) can easily out earn a teacher (presumably lower middle class, as an educated professional.) And the plumber's income might enable him/her to educate his/her children privately. So the "categories" get very blurred. And no- one cares any more, which IMO is a good thing.

Tortington Sun 30-Dec-12 18:13:56

middle class
upper class

i agree - lower middle upper middle etc is bollocks.

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 18:11:05

My family would be considered as upper class, as would my DH's, as we have a titled uncle or something somewhere, but I would consider myself as UMC

DorsetKnobwithJingleBellsOn Sun 30-Dec-12 18:08:09

YOu either have upper class or aristocracy.

none of this crap about lower upper, middle upper etc.

my family are upper class as they have land etc for 400 years but being catholic no title.

titled are aristocracy

royalty are monarchy.

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 18:05:28

What would a UMC income be compared to a MMC?

notcitrus Sun 30-Dec-12 18:01:40

Kate Fox's excellent book Watching the English splits people into upper class (a rare breed), upper middle, middle middle and lower middle, and working class (a smaller group than 50 years ago), and possibly an underclass, can't recall.

Thing is class is used in different ways, both by people themselves and by others ascribing people to different groups whether 'like us' or not. Someone's identity may be very different to how others see them (almost always people others think of as middle class but who say they will always be working class).

I'd say middle middles may use private schools, but upper middles expect to use them.

SauvignonBlanche Sun 30-Dec-12 17:59:59


usualsuspect3 Sun 30-Dec-12 17:58:07

Who cares anyway.MN is obsessed with class.

usualsuspect3 Sun 30-Dec-12 17:56:48

what would you call them then?

letseatgrandma Sun 30-Dec-12 17:55:06

I wouldn't count someone that didn't work at all and lives entirely on benefits as working class, because they don't WORK!

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 17:48:57

Have been talking about this with DH recently - what exactly defines each class? It seems that the hardest to define is the upper middle class - is it anyone who goes to a private school as only 5% of children do attend one, or is it to do with income? So very confusing!
We decided on these:
Lower working class (homeless, job, living entirely off benefits etc)
Working class (manual job, perhaps council housing)
Lower middle class
Middle middle class
Upper middle class
Lower upper class (minor aristos)
Upper class (major aristos, royal family etc)
Is this right??

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