‘A Classless Society?’ Making Sense of Inequalities in the Contemporary United Kingdom with the Great British Class Survey

Inequalities in the UK

ISBN: 978-1-78714-480-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-479-8

Publication date: 8 November 2017

Abstract

This chapter explores the inter-urban dimensions of contemporary inequality in the United Kingdom. It does so by drawing on quantitative measures of inequality from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Great British Class Survey’ experiment of 2011–2013 and representative economic indicators of productivity. It takes its starting point as an acknowledgement of the deepening inequalities in western, developed economies, a reality reflecting in the burgeoning of literature on macro-economic disparities at the start of the twenty-first century. Whilst invaluable, this literature has tended to focus solely on economic definitions of inequality between countries or regions. The purpose of this chapter is to continue the expansion of our understanding of the manifold dimensions of inequality into the social and cultural domains. The data from the Great British Class Survey are uniquely positioned to do this: approximately 325,000 people participated in the online questionnaire, providing information not just on their stocks of economic capital but also on the size and scope of their social networks and the nature and extent of their cultural activities. The size of the sample thus provides an unparalleled tool for analysing the complex nuances of contemporary inequality in the United Kingdom using a framework informed by the theoretical approach to cultural class analysis pioneered by Pierre Bourdieu. The analysis here focuses solely on inter-urban disparities in the United Kingdom and demonstrates the ways in which economic inequalities are reflected and reinforced in the social and cultural domains.

Keywords

Citation

Cunningham, N., Devine, F. and Snee, H. (2017), "‘A Classless Society?’ Making Sense of Inequalities in the Contemporary United Kingdom with the Great British Class Survey ", Fée, D. and Kober-Smith, A. (Ed.) Inequalities in the UK, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 77-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-479-820171003

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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