Apr. 5th, 2013

liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
So everybody's been playing with this class calculator, because who doesn't love a find your personality type survey? And this one has the imprimatur of respectability that comes from being on the BBC site with professional graphic design and slick special effects. It tells me I'm "established middle class," which I probably could have told you without going through that rigmarole. Duh, I'm a university lecturer and the daughter of two lawyers, obviously I'm middle class.

It's provoked some surprisingly interesting conversation, though. Some people are saying it's a distraction from the real issues of the sweeping changes to the NHS and social security system brought in this week. Well, yes it is, but the fact that people fill in silly surveys doesn't mean they aren't also engaged in meaningful political activism. This article someone linked on Twitter argues that the whole BBC gimmick is a poor popularization of sociology.

The interesting theme that's emerging is that there is a deliberate misdirection of people's thinking about class identity, and that this prevents effective political solidarity. [livejournal.com profile] blue_mai linked to a rather angry old-Left article which points out that it doesn't really make sense to treat low-level clerical and IT people as middle class just because they work in offices. I often don't find overtly socialist rhetoric very palatable, but Thee Citizen's post made sense to me. I can believe that there is a denigration of genuine working class values going on, and telling people they're middle class when in fact they have no real control over their lives or financial security is plausibly an subtle undermining of their ability to act politically as a collective.

[personal profile] helenic has a magnificent rant about a problem in the opposite direction: middle-class people are being manipulated into underestimating [our] class and relative wealth. [personal profile] helenic's post very much resonated with me; there is a sort of weird reverse snobbery going on where middle class people claim humble origins and / or feel hard done by even though they're pretty much at the top of the social heap, and absurdly wealthy people think of themselves as middle class.

It's my blog, so I'll talk about myself )

I hope this isn't completely incomprehensible to non-Brits!

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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