Dis-identification and class identity

Savage, Mike; Silva, Elizabeth and Warde, Alan (2010). Dis-identification and class identity. In: Silva, Elizabeth and Warde, Alan eds. Cultural analysis and Bourdieu's legacy: settling accounts and developing alternatives. Culture, Economy and the Social. London: Routledge, pp. 60–74.

URL: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/97804154953...


Building on Bourdieu's analysis of stratification Mike Savage, Elizabeth Silva and Alan Warde examine the implications of the distinction between objective and subjective class location with reflections about issues of class dis-identification and identity of class, on the basis of an empirical study employing quantitative and qualitative methods. The discussion is particularly relevant in the context of contemporary debates in the UK about the salience of class.

Recent research notes that while class is widely understood as a feature of social inequality, class identities do not appear to be meaningful to individuals. In the context of globalization and individualization processes researchers have identified decline in class consciousness and awareness. Emotional frames of a more individualized kind have been noted at the same time that class hierarchies are found to inform everyday life in new ways. Joining the debate on 'dis-identification', the authors consider the limits of class identity and the ways in which powers of classification are expressed in the 'talk' of research participants.

The findings indicate lack of direct class identification, with references to class pertaining to the external world rather than to personal experience. Both the deployment and the avoidance of idioms of class reveal an awareness of the power of classifying. Ambivalence towards class is thus actively produced and dis-identification often hides awareness of distinctive privileges.

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