Thursday, 4 April 2013

It Must Be Thursday: A Touch Of Class?

The ongoing saga of a weekly That-Was-The-Week-That-Was posting.
Commenting on things that caught my attention for better or for worse and left me shaking my fist at the sky and shouting "Whyyyy!!!" 
After all: until science brings us a better use for Thursdays - what else is there to do?

Even after all these years and despite our best attempts to show you otherwise I'd be willing to bet that most people in the world think of the English, when they think of us at all, as belonging to one of two groups:

Posh, well-spoken BBC announcer types with bowler hats and umbrellas, constantly drinking tea and calling on nanny to replace the cricket stumps of our lives

Cor-blimey Guv'nor, rough and ready cockneys, wheeling and dealing, our hands covered in dirt and a song in our heart (preferably with the refrain "have a banana")

But according to a new report published on the BBC website there are no longer three classes in Britain (always thought of as Upper, Middle and Working), but seven:

The site says:
We devised a new way of measuring class, which doesn't define class just by the job that you do, but by the different kinds of economic, cultural and social resources or 'capitals' that people possess.
We asked people about their income, the value of their home and savings, which together is known as 'economic capital', their cultural interests and activities, known as 'cultural capital' and the number and status of people they know, which is called 'social capital'.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Precariat: This is the most deprived class of all with low levels of economic, cultural and social capital. The everyday lives of members of this class are precarious.
From the descriptions above it seems that these classes are not cast in stone and that you can move between one and another - after all a New Affluent Worker is described as "young", whereas "traditional working class" is an older group

First of all the test asks you about your income: what do you own, how much you have saved

Secondly it asks you about the kind of people you hang out with: is it cleaners or company directors, teachers or lorry drivers

Third it asks for some of your interests: do you go to the opera, use facebook, listen to jazz, do arts and crafts, listen to hip-hop...

But the upshot is a lot of assumptions about what your interests say about you:

For instance i would probably go to stately homes if i could afford to take the trip, I occasionally listen to classical music but would argue that knowing a call centre worker is no different from knowing a company director (after all: it could be any size company)

And what if Prince Charles is a secret fan of Snoop Dogg?  Does that lower him from being Elite class?

And now that I am no longer described as "young man" by even the most kindly of pensioners does this mean that I cannot belong to any of the groups mainly inhabited by the young?

Personally I don't think this new classing thing will take off - its too complicated for people to really get their heads around

And besides: if they do catch on then how are we going to award next year's Upper Class Twit Of The Year?


Rebecca said...

nyc pic..

Happy Wordless Wednesday! My entry is here .

The Bug said...

Well good grief - I don't think I fit in any of these categories! I'm not young, and have no money... I guess I'm traditional working class. Fat lot of good my college degree did me!

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm sure Professor Higgins would shiver if he heard me speak.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

i'm still imagining Prince Charles with his headphones on in Buckingham Palace listening to Professor Green or Run DMC if he's into OldSkool

class isn't so much in where you come from or who you mix with - but in how you behave and think i guess? even the poorest person can outclass an old etonian

Anonymous said...

I am confused as to which category I should belong to :)

Friko said...

I was completely surprised by the result of the test.
I really need to change my habits it seems.

And just for fun: Dingdong, the witch is dead.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

simplelife - aren't we all

Friko - yes indeed