A good place to start this would be through posing a question:
If an upper-class individual (defined economically) loses their job, do they then cease to be upper-class and become working-class or a member of the precariat (social class below working-class and characterised by precarious employment relations/unemployment)?
Your answer is likely to be no, and this gets to the central argument of this blog post: an individuals’ social class is not defined only through their occupational status, or the status of their parent(s). It is instead a combination of the economic, cultural and social practices and resources they are able to draw upon (Reay, 1998;Savage et al, 2014). Despite the increasing recognition within the social sciences of the multi-dimensional nature of social class there is still little innovation in terms of conceptualising social class in this way in quantitative research aiming to measure social class. This is mainly due to the dominance of the NS-SEC (National Statistics Socio-economic Classification) in national survey and statistical research, which defines social class occupationally, and the absence of any attempts to broaden the conceptualisation of social class in quantitative forms of research. Continue reading