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How do you define 'Class'?

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naomi24 | 10:04 Mon 12th Apr 2010 | Society & Culture
91 Answers
With the election looming, there's been much discussion on 'Class' on here lately, so how do you, personally, define 'Class'?

Take, for example, someone born to a poor family living in a deprived area in totally inadequate rented accommodation, but who is bright enough to pass an exam to enable them to get a place in a good school and gain a good education. They then work hard to succeed in their chosen career, become a high earner, and subsequently buy a house in a much more affluent neighbourhood, enjoying the foreign holidays, cars, and all the other things the fruits of their labour has brought them. What 'class' would you place such a person in, and do you applaud their success or resent it?


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Question Author
Luna, You are talking about two different things. One, how I personally define class (which is immaterial to this discussion), and two, how class is defined for statistics on social structure - and that clearly isn't deemed irrelevant by the bodies that use these figures for the purposes of business, or in planning for the needs of the population.

//So what is their success? //

I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying that someone like the person in my example is unsuccessful?
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Luna, I can't quite make out what you're arguing here. Statistics are generally based upon education, employment, income, etc, etc. Hence someone born to a working class family who becomes highly educated, succeeds in his chosen career, and therefore achieves a much higher standard of living than his parents enjoyed will be placed, statistically, in a higher social bracket. However, since my own personal assessment of an individual (which I say again is immaterial to this discussion) does not depend upon those statistics, yes of course they are two different things.
I do think how you define class is material to the discussion, it is your question, if you wish to challenge the respondent you should at least offer the benefit of your own personal insight.
It's called an exchange of views.
Supervisors are salaried, they're management, they wear different uniforms they have authority over others, some supervisors view themselves as no different to me or others, whereas other ones do and believe by virtue of their "success" we should be suitably deferential.
I respect individuals not positions, class is difficult to define along the lines of the trappings of wealth, Curtis Warren is a very very rich man, is he upper class?
I myself am a bus driver, the son of a bus driver who is the son of a docker and a hospital cleaner, I', the son of a care worker, who is the daughter of a scaffolder and a checkout girl, am I working class?
If, God forbid, I died tonight my estate would be worth in the region £210,000 to the benefactors.
‘Class’ is largely a social distinction and is therefore most often arbitrarily defined by a majority consensus within a given ‘class’ of what they deem ‘virtuous’, often at the expense of those who find it necessary to defend their particular ‘class’ from those engaged in a power struggle to achieve preferred status within a majority ruled government.
Classification is an essential conceptual tool for bringing order to ones perceptual and cognitive experience. But there is one overriding characteristic that must be considered foremost to arrive at a rational distinction between the merits of particular individuals that makes the majority of ‘social distinctions’ moot, that being the rationally achieved independence of the individual under consideration.

The desire to climb the social ladder will always be determined by what one perceives to be awaiting them at the top. For those who have not it is often the wallet of the one on the next rung above them and for those that have more it is most likely to hang onto what is in their wallet. Neither will rise far on the ladder of self-fulfillment within a governmental structure that can not see beyond and encourage such a myopic viewpoint.

Social development is not a means but an end to be achieved by those who have not been denied a vision of what they alone stand to gain from acknowledging and attaining personal responsibility.
Question Author
Everton, I haven't challenged anyone. I've asked a simple question to which few appear to be able to give a straight answer - and at your request I've given my personal opinion.

It appears we are once again going around in circles, so I think this thread has run its course. Thank you for your answers everyone.
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Question Author
Or maybe they never had it - but then that isn't a defining factor in compiling national statistics.

Again, thank you for your answers everyone.
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a photo of me was placed on facebook alongside 3 other girls..someone i know made a 'joke' and wrote underneath, 'class, class, hippy, class'...meaning me, as i was wearing a hippyish style top and tend to go for an ethnicy style...rather than follow the fashions.
however...i am a production designer and makeup artist for film and tv, and i can earn anything from 500 a week to 2,000 a week, i travel all over the country, i mix with celebrities at times and count a few of them as friends...i have various qualifications and a degree. my father owns 7 shops and 6 houses and has a large house in an area where many of liverpool and everton footballers live... i also own my own home outright so i am mortgage free.

of the other 3 girls, one works in a shop an lives in a flat, ones a single mum and the other is trainee primary school teacher and lives with her parents...none have well off parents...

so i was somewhat amused that this person seemed to think that class is purely based on the fact that they were wearing trendy or sparkly outfits...

weird eh?
(incidentally I think 'class' is nonsense and couldnt care less what other people feel i am...i am me and thats that)

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