Presentation title groupings Social class Social class groupings Joan Garrod Fotolia Presentation title groupings Social class In the 1950s, social classes in Britain tended to be thought of as falling into three main groups, based on the occupation of the main (usually male) breadwinner. These were the upper, middle and working classes. Their proportions in the population could be represented by a pyramid shape. Upper class Middle class Working class Presentation title groupings Social class Other classifications Other, more refined classifications, were developed by the Registrar General. One of the most recent classifications used by the government and other agencies is the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification, or NS-SEC. This uses three different scales, but the one most commonly used has eight groupings. Presentation title groupings Social class The NS-SEC scale 1. Higher managerial and professional occupations. 2. Lower managerial and professional occupations. 3. Intermediate occupations (clerical, sales, service) 4. Small employers and own-account workers. 5. Lower supervisory and technical occupations. 6. Semi-routine occupations. 7. Routine occupations. 8. Never worked or long-term unemployed. Question: Why is occupation thought to be so important in the definition of social class? Presentation title groupings Social class NRS social grade The NRS was first used to profile the readers of newspapers (NRS = National Readership Survey), but is increasingly used by a wide range of groups to classify people. It has six groupings: A Upper middle class B Middle class C1 Lower middle class C2 Skilled working class D Working class E Non-working (unemployed, pensioners, students) Presentation title groupings Social class The Great British Class Survey In April 2013 the BBC published the results of a large-scale survey designed to update our knowledge of the UK class structure. Two sociologists played leading roles in the research. They were: вЂў Professor Fiona Devine of Manchester University вЂў Professor Mike Savage of the London School of Economics The findings received considerable media coverage. Fotolia Two sets of data were used in the analysis. Presentation title groupings Social class The research A BBC project launched in January 2011 asked people to complete a 20-minute online survey. This asked questions on occupation, geographical location, education, cultural tastes and interests, and the occupations of people the respondents knew. A total of 161,458 people completed the survey. Analysis showed, however, that these were predominantly drawn from well-educated social groups. To overcome this, a second identical survey was carried out by a survey company focusing on a sample of people representative of the population of the UK as a whole. The data from both surveys were used in parallel. Presentation title groupings Social class The influence of Pierre Bourdieu Mike Savage and Fiona Devine wanted to develop a new, more sophisticated approach to the analysis of social class. In this they were influenced by the French sociologist Bourdieu, who argued that social class had three dimensions: вЂў Economic capital вЂў Social capital вЂў Cultural capital Presentation title groupings Social class The three dimensions of class The survey questions were designed to measure all three forms of social capital, to see how they contribute to a personвЂ™s overall class. вЂўEconomic capital вЂ“ income, savings, house value вЂўSocial capital вЂ“ the number and status of people one knows вЂўCultural capital вЂ“ the extent and nature of cultural interests and activities Questions: 1.What possible problems can you identify with online surveys? 2.Can you think of any problems with the way the three types of capital were identified and measured? Presentation title groupings Social class The results Analysis of the two sets of data resulted in a new model of class with seven groupings. These are: The elite вЂ“ the most privileged group in the UK, distinct from the other six classes through its wealth. Has the highest levels of all three capitals. Established middle class вЂ“ the largest and most gregarious group, and the second wealthiest. Scores highly on all three capitals. Technical middle class вЂ“ a small, distinctive new class group which is prosperous but scores low for social and cultural capital. New affluent workers вЂ“ a young group which is socially and culturally active, with middling levels of economic capital. Presentation title groupings Social class The results Traditional working class вЂ“ scores low on all forms of capital, though not completely deprived, as its members have reasonably high house values. Emergent service workers вЂ“ a new, young, urban group which is relatively poor but has high social and cultural capital. The precariat (or precarious proletariat) вЂ“ the poorest and most deprived class, scoring low for social and cultural capital. The researchers say that the new affluent workers and emergent service workers appear to be the children of the вЂ�traditional working class, which has been fragmented by de-industrialisation, mass unemployment, immigration and the restructuring of urban space. Presentation title groupings Social class The new class groups Class group % of population Average age 6 57 25 46 Technical middle class 6 52 New affluent workers 15 44 Traditional working class 14 66 Emergent service workers 19 34 Precariat 15 50 Elite Established middle class Presentation title groupings Social class The Great British Class Survey: conclusions While this is undoubtedly an interesting and significant piece of work, it has not been without its critics. SociologyReviewExtras Vol. 23, No. 3 will look at some of these criticisms. In the meantime, you should learn the names of the new groups and also be able to discuss the methods by which the data were obtained.