Where Do You Come in the New Class System? ; Researchers Reveal Seven New Social Groups

By Qureshi, Yakub | Manchester Evening News, April 4, 2013 | Go to article overview

Where Do You Come in the New Class System? ; Researchers Reveal Seven New Social Groups


Qureshi, Yakub, Manchester Evening News


FOR centuries, the class system has been seen as just as much a mark of Britishness as the traditional Sunday roast.

But now a major study has suggested traditional working, middle and upper-class divisions no longer apply.

Instead, claim a research team led by Manchester University, modern Britain has a kaleidoscope of new classes - ranging from the 'technical middle class' to 'emergent service workers'.

Sociologists say educational opportunities, shifting pay and major economic changes - which can see skilled tradesmen earning more than poorly paid graduates - has exploded our traditional understanding of class. The study of 161,000 people identified seven major groups which it claims best represent the country's social groups.

Led by respected Manchester University professor Fiona Devine, and backed by the BBC, the study quizzed thousands of people about their income, educational background, lifestyle, and aspirations.

They grouped participants using their wealth, social connections, and cultural 'capital' - including whether they preferred theatre and opera to hiphop and football.

Prof Devine said many affluent households were no longer interested in traditional 'middle class' pastimes.

She said: "Many people think that the problem of social and cultural engagement is more marked in poorer class groups, but the survey shows that our levels of social and cultural capital don't always mirror our economic success.

"The 'technical middle class' score low for social and cultural capital, but are quite well off, while the 'emergent service workers' score highly for cultural and social capital but are not very prosperous."

Despite the findings, a small number of people - around 40 per cent of those surveyed - were found to still fit the stereotypes of 'established middle class' and 'traditional working class'.

But the report's co-author Mike Savage, a professor at London School of Economics, added the findings made it harder to make assumptions based on people's jobs. …

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