Sociology

Is Middle Class a Myth



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Upper- or Middle Class : where do you belong? Or: are we all middle class, or just pretending to be?

In Wikipédia, middle class are "any class in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the Western cultures that emphasize consumerism and property ownership within capitalism.

The common measures of what constitutes middle class vary significantly between cultures. In urban India, for example, a family is considered middle class if it resides in an owner-occupied property. In the United States, many families where the primary income-earner is employed in a working class, because the level required to be middle class is commonly believed to be set much higher - and usually includes a university education or similar, ownership of a sizeable family house, luxuries such as family skiing holidays, and the main income-earner either holding a senior role in the professions or themselves being an owner/director of a corporation. This is primarily because in Great Britain one can only be Upper Class if one has a title e.g. Duke."


There has been an interesting notion "middle class." Turns out that if you ask almost anyone where they fall on the socio-economic ladder, the answer will almost universally come back "middle class." But if you ask "Are you lower class, working class, middle class, or upper class," the answers will split evenly between working class and middle class.

As Kimberly Jones puts it: “I’ve decided to create my own definition for the term. To me, middle class has much less to do with the actual amount of income one earns, and more to do with the degree to which one can manage the various aspects of life that involve money.  In other words, it’s not about how much you've got, but what you can do with what you've got.”


So the question they asked, which I'd like to play with here, is what does the phrase "middle class" mean? Are upper-, middle class and working class mutually exclusive or is working class a subset of middle class, or do they intersect in part? Is it purely defined by income or is it lifestyle? And if so, is it the same to belong to “winders”, or “soccer-mom with high income”?

Doubtful…

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Weber
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_world
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_class
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.npr.org/blogs/tellmemore/2010/10/06/130382975/what-does-middle-class-really-mean
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.nowpublic.com/culture/winder-blowing-bobo-aside