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What social class do you consider yourself to be? Watch

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    I think my background is middle class, but some would say my current situation is more upper working class. My family all have very respectable careers and went to university (psychologist, barrister, graphic designer, teacher etc), but my mum was the "naughty posh girl" and decided to party and not go to university. She raised me as a single parent and I live with her in my gran's house which is fairly big and in a typical middle class area. She's a nurse so earns an adequate income, not a high one. All my family, including my mum, are very cultured and enjoy the arts and literature.

    I think many people these days are 'nouveau riche'. A lot of people I know live in very nice areas in very nice houses and had private education, but this is only because their parents have just acquired money through business and other such things. Their parents' parent, however, are from places not so middle class and have jobs of the lower class field.

    In my opinion, social status is rather shallow and I find social climbers to be particularly irritating. Their desire to be at the top of the social ladder is completely counteracted by their lack of (natural) intelligence and contrived beliefs and activities.
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    (Original post by louise9)
    I think my background is middle class, but some would say my current situation is more upper working class. My family all have very respectable careers and went to university (psychologist, barrister, graphic designer, teacher etc), but my mum was the "naughty posh girl" and decided to party and not go to university. She raised me as a single parent and I live with her in my gran's house which is fairly big and in a typical middle class area. She's a nurse so earns an adequate income, not a high one. All my family, including my mum, are very cultured and enjoy the arts and literature.

    I think many people these days are 'nouveau riche'. A lot of people I know live in very nice areas in very nice houses and had private education, but this is only because their parents have just acquired money through business and other such things. Their parents' parent, however, are from places not so middle class and have jobs of the lower class field.

    In my opinion, social status is rather shallow and I find social climbers to be particularly irritating. Their desire to be at the top of the social ladder is completely counteracted by their lack of (natural) intelligence and contrived beliefs and activities.

    You would feel yourself akin to the Roman satirist Petronius, if you ever get the chance you might like to read (if you haven't already), his Satyricon and particularly the Dinner of Trimalchio section. Depicting social climbers (in this case a fabulously wealthy and gauche freed slave) is the name of the game here. It's a different period but the humour resonates.
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    (Original post by takingtime)
    Well primarily the division into the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. Marx himself didn't even address a middle class! Most people on this thread have defined themselves as that. How can it be the best way to define class in modern Britain?
    The bourgeoisie was the middle class in Marx's time. They were the new class of capitalists and industrialists as distinct from the old remnants of the aristocracy.
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    middle class

    both parents went to university (mum has two degrees, dad is working on his second)
    dad is a fairly high up, well known engineer/project manager working on projects across london, mum is a civil servant
    live in an alright area, in a 4 bed house

    that being said, i also know people who are much more well off than we are, and yet would still call themselves working class because of their parents, so its very much a subjective thing
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    Working class I presume. My parents did not go to uni. My dad works long hours doing deliveries and my mom has gone back to college to study. I am the first in my family to go to uni and the eldest of my siblings. I live in an inner city area and I went to state schools. I don't really take much notice of class systems though but since I started uni I have been exposed to so many different people from different walks of life which is pretty kool .
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    (Original post by Kibalchich)
    The bourgeoisie was the middle class in Marx's time. They were the new class of capitalists and industrialists as distinct from the old remnants of the aristocracy.
    That isn't true. "The issue of the middle class or classes appears to be a major issue within Marxian theory... Marx's view was that the successful members of the middle class would become members of the bourgeoisie, while the unsuccessful would be forced into the proletariat". (http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/s28f99.htm)

    He just didn't really address it clearly, silly Karl! But back to the original point, it certainly isn't the best way to address modern day class structuring due to such limitations.

    More than anything though this is due to time rather than theoretical limitations. Class structures are incredibly culturally specific.
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    I suggest actually reading Marx, specifically on the tensions in feudalism that gave rise to capitalism.
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    Marxism is an old theory that has many flaws. Marx predicted that the working proletariat class would overthrow capitalism, producing a classleas society. Hmm dont see that happenning.

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    (Original post by Hart1995)
    Marxism is an old theory that has many flaws. Marx predicted that the working proletariat class would overthrow capitalism, producing a classleas society. Hmm dont see that happenning.

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    I think the idea was 'eventually' - there wasn't a specific timescale, although of course Marx and Engels believed that the transition would first emerge in the most industrialised countries and could be helped along by mass worker action.

    Arguably it is indeed happening - there are very extensive discussions and debates under way globally about having a better system than capitalism, which has lost trust amongst many people over the last few years.
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    (Original post by Hart1995)
    Marxism is an old theory that has many flaws. Marx predicted that the working proletariat class would overthrow capitalism, producing a classleas society. Hmm dont see that happenning.

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    Marx said many many things over many many years. It does seem like the working class are on the back foot and have been over the past 30 years or so, but things can change rapidly, history shows us this. Capitalism is still fairly new.

    Marx's analysis of capitalism in Capital is fairly spot on IMO.
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    (Original post by roh)


    Pretty easily if they own their own business and it's doing well. A lot of builders are also property developers, it's hardly implausible to do up two 300k houses a year and then sell them on for a 50k profit each.
    A man who owns a cleaning business worth millions is a cleaner, is he? And the Tesco executives cashiers? I can guarantee you that a builder is a man who works on site, the person who owns a building company is not a builder. He is a business man. How absurd of you to think so. And a property developer, is a property developer. Not a builder.
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    (Original post by SophiaKeuning)
    A man who owns a cleaning business worth millions is a cleaner, is he? And the Tesco executives cashiers? I can guarantee you that a builder is a man who works on site, the person who owns a building company is not a builder. He is a business man. How absurd of you to think so. And a property developer, is a property developer. Not a builder.
    The question is, "can a businessman be working class"? I think the answer has to be "yes". There are loads and loads of working class people doing things like house renovations, running small but profitable companies and owning multiple buy-to-let properties, etc.

    The real difficulty is knowing where the boundary lies. At what point do people move between classes? Just when exactly does someone who runs a business stop being working class and become something else? Clearly their own self-identification and viewpoint must be a factor.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    The question is, "can a businessman be working class"? I think the answer has to be "yes". There are loads and loads of working class people doing things like house renovations, running small but profitable companies and owning multiple buy-to-let properties, etc.

    The real difficulty is knowing where the boundary lies. At what point do people move between classes? Just when exactly does someone who runs a business stop being working class and become something else? Clearly their own self-identification and viewpoint must be a factor.
    That's another matter. Just do me a favour, you and the other poster, don't refer to people who own contracting/building firms as builders. If you wana discuss something, don't use words so loosley just to swing the argument in your favour as obviously builder=working class but businessman is far less clear. And the working class I refer to when I talk about working class is very clear.

    You might toss in business men who earn 40k as working class because of where they shop or what they watch on TV, and that's debatable, but there's a very clear type of people who fall into working class. Working class=Manchester council estate (or 2/3 bed semis from the 70s), stay at home mum who does a few hours at Asda, taxi driver dad. You might think the man who lives in a lovely borough in Kent whose done well for himself and owns a solid business might be working class, but he does not represent what it is to be working class.

    I was talking to a guy the other day who spent a few years in private school and lives in a massive farm house in Somerset who says 'I come from a working class background'. That's bull**** and just displays ignorance of what it really is to be working class, ignorance of how **** things can actually be and how well off he is.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Senior principes bellatorum in familia et tibi communis iocos Latine? Etiam, puto nos scriberet vos sicut superiorem media materia!
    Glad you agree. (Though my ability to cope with this several drinks into a family wedding is low)
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    There's a lot of conflicting understandings of class. For example, many rich people would consider themselves 'middle class' because they've become rich in their own lifetimes, and see 'upper class' as being about hereditary wealth and privilege. At the same time, many people who would normally be considered considered 'middle class' are basically just working class but with a better paid job.

    Whether you're a taxi driver or a surgeon, you're still making a living by renting yourself out on a daily basis, which originally was what 'working class' meant.
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    (Original post by SophiaKeuning)
    A man who owns a cleaning business worth millions is a cleaner, is he? And the Tesco executives cashiers? I can guarantee you that a builder is a man who works on site, the person who owns a building company is not a builder. He is a business man. How absurd of you to think so. And a property developer, is a property developer. Not a builder.
    I am not talking about the MD of Balfour Beatty, but people who are 2 or 3 man bands in which the owner is very much still directly involved. For example my mate's dad earns 100k in a good year. He is the owner of a small building business. Each day he goes and builds stuff for clients, aided by two employees. I hardly think it would be absurd were you to see him at work to say 'ah he's a builder' rather than 'ah he's a businessman'.

    Yes he's a property developer, but it his ability as a builder which allows him to do so and he would likely spend most of his time building things. It is like saying because the senior in house counsel or finance director for a company is on the board their job is being a director, when their skills as a lawyer or accountant are the principle reason they are there and most of their time will still be devoted to legal and financial work, not the management of the company.
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    Classism definitely exists, as does elitism and snobbery. But class is obviously a social construct, the definition is constantly changing as is the demographic and lifestyle of those living in Britain.

    My grandparents were working class, my granddad left school at 12, he ended up with his own carpentry business -him and a few tools- and they were able to afford to buy a house just by luck of the market. This also happened to be in St Albans. So, my mum got a better education than they did (the school system improved) although she didn't go to University. My dad did however, he also went to a boarding school, but as a day student because he got in on a scholarship. More importantly, he was brought up by his grandparents who were working class as he was conceived due to a one night stand; his mother remarried and wasn't interested in having him around.

    Despite my dad appearing to climb the ladder of societal standards, my parents divorced when I was six and my mum got custody whilst unemployed and having no money to her name. Her current income puts me in the less than £15,000 bracket whilst applying for student finance. There were also years she didn't make any money, she had issues with alcoholism, a six year affair with a married man, and my brother suffered from drug addiction and developed paranoid schizophrenia, which was quite intense... the house was raided by police, my mum also had an abusive partner for 5 years (overlapping with the affair) and his sister married a multimillionaire (does it sound like I'm making it up yet because I promise this is all the truth) and she gave him some money which meant my mum and him could afford an expensive lovely house. But that fell apart and now my mum just about manages renting.

    Okay, I'm not entirely sure why I'm telling my life story? To answer your question although neither of my parents are manual workers or unemployed, we are clearly not a middle class family. I think a large portion of the population aren't working nor middle class, they're like me, a product of modern times, modern family dynamics, social dilemmas, lacking occupations or definable heritage to put them into a class.

    I wish that classism would step out of politics, and I wish that there was emphasis on equal opportunities. I went to school with a lot of people who would be defined by the constructs of this thread as middle class, Jack .. uh what's it called? Wills sorry sort of folk. And when I'd argue the limitations of capitalism with these white rich well-educated boys they would argue that they had worked for everything they'd got and that everyone has the chance to work there way up BECAUSE of capitalism.. which is laughable... okay I'm going to stop writing now.
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    Working class.
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    Three Men on Class


    Cleese:
    (In bowler hat, black jacket and pinstriped trousers) I look down on him (Indicates Barker) because I am upper-class.
    Barker:
    (Pork-pie hat and raincoat) I look up to him (Cleese) because he is upper-class; but I look down on him (Corbett) because he is lower-class. I am middle-class
    Corbett:
    (Cloth cap and muffler) I know my place. I look up to them both. But I don't look up to him (Barker) as much as I look up to him (Cleese), because he has got innate breeding.
    Cleese:
    I have got innate breeding, but I have not got any money. So sometimes I look up (bends knees, does so) to him (Barker).
    Barker:
    I still look up to him (Cleese) because although I have money, I am vulgar. But I am not as vulgar as him (Corbett) so I still look down on him (Corbett).
    Corbett:
    I know my place. I look up to them both; but while I am poor, I am honest, industrious and trustworthy. Had I the inclination, I could look down on them. But I don't.
    Barker:
    We all know our place, but what do we get out of it?
    Cleese:
    I get a feeling of superiority over them.
    Barker:
    I get a feeling of inferiority from him, (Cleese), but a feeling of superiority over him (Corbett).
    Corbett:
    I get a pain in the back of my neck.
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    (Original post by Thomas2)
    Three Men on Class


    Cleese:
    (In bowler hat, black jacket and pinstriped trousers) I look down on him (Indicates Barker) because I am upper-class.
    Barker:
    (Pork-pie hat and raincoat) I look up to him (Cleese) because he is upper-class; but I look down on him (Corbett) because he is lower-class. I am middle-class
    Corbett:
    (Cloth cap and muffler) I know my place. I look up to them both. But I don't look up to him (Barker) as much as I look up to him (Cleese), because he has got innate breeding.
    Cleese:
    I have got innate breeding, but I have not got any money. So sometimes I look up (bends knees, does so) to him (Barker).
    Barker:
    I still look up to him (Cleese) because although I have money, I am vulgar. But I am not as vulgar as him (Corbett) so I still look down on him (Corbett).
    Corbett:
    I know my place. I look up to them both; but while I am poor, I am honest, industrious and trustworthy. Had I the inclination, I could look down on them. But I don't.
    Barker:
    We all know our place, but what do we get out of it?
    Cleese:
    I get a feeling of superiority over them.
    Barker:
    I get a feeling of inferiority from him, (Cleese), but a feeling of superiority over him (Corbett).
    Corbett:
    I get a pain in the back of my neck.
    Stephen Fry did an update of that famous sketch, with the Two Ronnies.

 
 
 
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