Thursday, April 25, 2013

PL 6/13: Bourdieu is smiling

Filed under: research, statistics — plinius @ 10:05 pm

A major new study of social classes in the UK has proposed seven groups:

  • Elite – this is the most privileged group in the UK. They are set apart from the other six classes, especially because of their wealth, and they have the highest levels of all three capitals.
  • Established middle class – this is the second wealthiest class group and it scores highly on all three capitals. It is the largest and highly gregarious class group and scores second highest for cultural capital.
  • Technical middle class – this is a small, distinctive new class group that is prosperous but scores low for social and cultural capital. It is distinguished by its social isolation and cultural apathy.
  • New affluent workers – this young class group is socially and culturally active, with middling levels of economic capital.
  • Traditional working class – this class scores low on all forms of capital, but is not completely deprived. Its members have a reasonably high house values, which is explained by this group having the oldest average age (66 years).
  • Emergent service workers – this new, young, urban group is relatively poor but has high social and cultural capital.
  • Precariat (The precarious proletariat) – this is the poorest, most deprived class and scores low for social and cultural capital.

Bourdieu must be smiling from his cloud.




  • Elite.
    • 6% of population.
    • Average household income: £89.000
    • Very high economic capital (especially savings), high social capital, very high  highbrow cultural capital.

Middle class

  • Established middle class. .
    • 25% of population
    • Average household income: £47.000
    • High economic capital, high status of mean contacts, high highbrow and  emerging cultural capital
  • Technical middle class.
    • 6% of population.
    • Average household income: £37.000
    • High economic capital, very high mean social contacts, but relatively few  contacts reported, moderate cultural  capital.

Working class

  • New affluent workers.
    • 15% of population
    • Average household income: £29.000  
    • Moderately good economic capital,  moderately poor mean score of social  contacts, though high range, moderate highbrow but good emerging cultural capital.
  • Traditional working  class.
    • 14% of population.
    • Average household income: £21.000
    •  Moderately poor economic capital, though with reasonable house price, few social contacts, low highbrow and emerging cultural capital.
  • Emergent service workers.
    • 19% of population
    • Average household income: £13.000
    • Moderately poor economic capital, though with reasonable household income, moderate social contacts, high emerging (but low highbrow) cultural capital.


  • Precariat.
    • 15% of population.
    • Average household income: £8.000
    • Poor economic capital, and the lowest scores on every other criterion.

Typical occupations

  • Chief executive officers
  • IT and telecommunications directors
  • Marketing and sales directors
  • Functional managers and directors
  • Barristers and judges
  • Financial managers
  • Dental practitioners
  • Advertising and public relations directors
Established middle class
  • Electrical engineers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Midwives
  • Environmental professionals
  • Police officers
  • Quality assurance and regulatory professionals
  • Town planning officials
  • Special needs teaching professionals
Technical middle class
  • Aircraft pilots
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical scientists
  • Medical radiographers
  • Higher education teachers
  • Business, research, and admin positions
  • Natural and social science professionals
  • Senior professionals in education establishments
New affluent workers
  • Postal workers
  • Housing officers
  • Sales and retail assistants
  • Kitchen and catering assistants
  • Quality assurance technicians
  • Electricians and electrical fitters
  • Retail cashiers and checkout operatives
  • Plumbers and heating and ventilation engineers
Traditional working class
  • Cleaners
  • Van drivers
  • Electricians
  • Legal secretaries
  • Medical secretaries
  • Care workers [thrice!]
  • Residential, day, and domiciliary care
  • Electrical and electronic technicians

Emergent service sector

  • Chefs
  • Bar staff
  • Musicians
  • Care workers [thrice!]
  • Nursing auxiliaries and assistants
  • Assemblers and routine operatives
  • Elementary storage occupations
  • Customer service occupations
  • Cleaners [twice!]
  • Van drivers [twice!]
  • Care workers [thrice!]
  • Retail cashiers [twice!]
  • Caretakers
  • Carpenters and joiners
  • Shopkeepers and proprietors
  • Leisure and travel service occupations
Click here to Reply or Forward

1 Comment »

  1. […] PL 6/13: Bourdieu is smiling. A new study of class structure in Great Britain. […]

    Pingback by P 17/13: Klassene i kunnskapsøkonomien | Plinius — Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 7:22 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: