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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1988

Kjell Grønhaug and Paul S. Trapp

Social class is assumed to be a crucial determinant in consumer behavior. Most previous research has focused on purchase and consumption behavior across social class

Abstract

Social class is assumed to be a crucial determinant in consumer behavior. Most previous research has focused on purchase and consumption behavior across social class segments at the generic product class level. In contrast, this article reports an exploratory study on how brands from narrowly defined groups of products and services are perceived to appeal to different social classes.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1988

Kjell Grønhaug and Paul S. Trapp

Social class is assumed to be a crucial determinant in consumer behavior. Most previous research has focused on purchase and consumption behavior across social class

Abstract

Social class is assumed to be a crucial determinant in consumer behavior. Most previous research has focused on purchase and consumption behavior across social class segments at the generic product class level. In contrast, this article reports an exploratory study on how brands from narrowly defined groups of products and services are perceived to appeal to different social classes.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2014

This chapter offers a broad view of ways organizations create and sustain social class distinction in the workplace and how these outcomes bolster broader perspectives…

Abstract

This chapter offers a broad view of ways organizations create and sustain social class distinction in the workplace and how these outcomes bolster broader perspectives about socioeconomic status and social class. One’s social class generally refers to earnings, education, or occupational status. In more complex terms, power dynamics create a dichotomy between owners of production forces and workers they employ; a social class structure of haves versus have-nots which organizes human relations. Chapter 9 draws from multiple research traditions to examine the wage labor system, combined with trends, myths and fallacies about social class, social identity intersectionalities, and specifically how social class is performed in organizations.

No matter how much people and their societies prefer to think of themselves as unrestricted and egalitarian, it seems that social class – perhaps more rigidly than any other social identity dimension – offers a ready reminder that social spaces and experiences at work, home, and elsewhere are clearly marked by social class. Key concepts explored include classism, class-free society illusions, and blue- and other color collar metaphors which connote power and privilege. To interrogate social identity research on social class in organizations, explored are subthemes of: socioeconomic status (SES) and the wage labor system in organizations; trends, myths, and fallacies about social class in the United States; intersectionalities of social class identity with age, ethnicity, gender, and physical/psychological ability; and “doing social class” at work.

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Practical and Theoretical Implications of Successfully Doing Difference in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-678-1

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Book part
Publication date: 15 January 2021

Russell Spiker, Lawrence Stacey and Corinne Reczek

Purpose: We review theory and research to suggest how research on sexual and gender minority (SGM) population health could more completely account for social class.…

Abstract

Purpose: We review theory and research to suggest how research on sexual and gender minority (SGM) population health could more completely account for social class.

Approach: First, we review theory on social class, gender, and sexuality, especially pertaining to health. Next, we review research on social class among SGM populations. Then, we review 42 studies of SGM population health that accounted for one or more components of social class. Finally, we suggest future directions for investigating social class as a fundamental driver of SGM health.

Findings: Social class and SGM stigma are both theorized as “fundamental causes” of health, yet most studies of SGM health do not rigorously theorize social class. A few studies control socioeconomic characteristics as mediators of SGM health disparities, but that approach obscures class disparities within SGM populations. Only two of 42 studies we reviewed examined SGM population health at the intersections of social class, gender, and sexuality.

Research implications: Researchers interested in SGM population health would benefit from explicitly stating their chosen theory and operationalization of social class. Techniques such as splitting samples by social class and statistical interactions can help illuminate how social class and SGM status intertwine to influence health.

Originality: We synthesize theory and research on social class, sexuality, and gender pertaining to health. In doing so, we hope to help future research more thoroughly account for social class as a factor shaping the lives and health of SGM people.

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Book part
Publication date: 12 September 2017

Yu-Ling Hsiao and Lucy E. Bailey

This chapter draws from a three-year ethnographic study focused on the educational and community interactions among working- and middle-class ethnic Chinese immigrants in…

Abstract

This chapter draws from a three-year ethnographic study focused on the educational and community interactions among working- and middle-class ethnic Chinese immigrants in a mid-western town in the United States. Aihwa Ong (1999) argues that “Chineseness” is a fluid, cultural practice manifested within the Chinese diaspora in particular ways that relate to globalization in late modernity, immigrants’ cultural background, their place in the social structure in their home society, and their new social class status in the context they enter. The study extends research focused on the complexities of social reproduction within larger global flows of Chinese immigrants. First, we describe how Chinese immigrants’ social status in their countries of origin in part shapes middle and working-class group’s access to cultural capital and positions in the social structure of their post-migration context. Second, we trace groups’ negotiation of their relational race and class positioning in the new context (Ong, 1999) that is often invisible in the processes of social reproduction. Third, we describe how both groups must negotiate national, community, and schooling conceptions of the model minority concept (Lee, 1996) that shapes Asian-American’s lived realities in the United States; yet the continuing salience of their immigrant experience, home culture, and access to cultural capital (Bourdieu, 2007) means that they enact the “model minority” concept differently. The findings suggest the complexity of Chinese immigrants’ accommodation of and resistance to normative ideologies and local structures that cumulatively contribute to social reproduction on the basis of class.

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The Power of Resistance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-462-6

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Book part
Publication date: 15 October 2019

Luca Fiorito

This chapter documents how eugenics, scientific racism, and hereditarianism survived at Harvard well into the interwar years. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Thomas…

Abstract

This chapter documents how eugenics, scientific racism, and hereditarianism survived at Harvard well into the interwar years. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Thomas Nixon Carver and Frank W. Taussig published works in which they established a close nexus between an individual’s economic position and his biological fitness. Carver, writing in 1929, argued that social class rigidities are attributable to the inheritance of superior and inferior abilities on the respective social class levels and proposed an “economic test of fitness” as a eugenic criterion to distinguish worthy from unworthy individuals. In 1932, Taussig, together with Carl Smith Joslyn, published American Business Leaders – a study that showed how groups with superior social status are proportionately much more productive of professional and business leaders than are the groups with inferior social status. Like Carver, Taussig and Joslyn attributed this circumstance primarily to hereditary rather than environmental factors. Taussig, Joslyn, and Carver are not the only protagonists of our story. The Russian-born sociologists Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin, who joined the newly established Department of Sociology at Harvard in 1930, also played a crucial role. His book Social Mobility (1927) exercised a major influence on both Taussig and Carver and contributed decisively to the survival of eugenic and hereditarian ideas at Harvard in the 1930s.

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Including a Symposium on Robert Heilbroner at 100
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-869-7

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2021

Xavier Bartoll-Roca and Albert Julià

Social inequalities in mental health can be captured by occupational situation and social class stratification. This study analyzes the adequacy of a classification of…

Abstract

Purpose

Social inequalities in mental health can be captured by occupational situation and social class stratification. This study analyzes the adequacy of a classification of work and employment conditions and an adaptation of the Goldthorpe social class scheme in relation to mental health in Barcelona, Spain.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (CA) on working and employment conditions were used to empirically construct distinctive working groups. Through 2 logistic regression models, we contrasted the association between mental health and (1) the cluster of employment and working conditions (with 4 categories: insiders, instrumental, precarious and peripheral workers), and (2) a standard Spanish version of the Goldthorpe social class scheme. The performance of the 2 models was assessed with Akaike and Bayesian information criteria. The analyses were carried out using the Barcelona Health Survey (2016) including the labor force population from 22 to 64 years of age.

Findings

Wide inequalities were found in mental health with both class schemes. The empirical class scheme was more effective than the Goldthorpe social class scheme in explaining mental health inequalities. In particular, precarious and peripheral workers in the MCA-CA analysis, together with unemployed workers, emerged as distinctive social groups apparently masked within the lower social class in the standard scheme. When using the standard scheme, the authors recommend widening the scope at the bottom of the social class categories while shrinking it at the top as well as considering unemployed persons as a separate category to better represent mental health inequalities.

Social implications

The working poor appear to report at least as much poor mental health as unemployed persons. Policies aimed at more inclusive work should consider job quality improvements to improve the mental well-being of the labor force.

Originality/value

Our study examines the utility of social classes to explain mental health inequalities by comparing an empirically based social class to the Spanish adaptation of the Goldthorpe classification.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 48 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Terrell G. Williams

This article investigates social class, income and gender effects on the importance of utilitarian and subjective evaluative decision criteria over a variety of products…

Abstract

This article investigates social class, income and gender effects on the importance of utilitarian and subjective evaluative decision criteria over a variety of products considered more and less socially significant. Variations in attitude, motivation and value orientations associated with differences in occupational opportunities and demands, childhood socialization patterns and educational influences may lead consumers to vary in many of their purchase behaviors across social classes. It was found here that social class is a significant predictor of evaluative criterion importance for a number of products. The influence was moderated by the objectivity of the criterion and the social sensitivity of the product. Because of its link to choice limitation in decision making, income was expected to be an influence on evaluative criteria. A greater number of utilitarian criterion importance ratings for socially non‐significant products were related to income, and utilitarian criteria importance, in general, was negatively associated with income for low social value products. Application of relative class income levels led to a substantially greater number of significant relationships compared with income or social class alone. The gender of respondents was found to relate to the observed associations, with women generally attaching more importance to virtually all evaluative criteria and exhibiting different relative importance levels for criteria across class and income levels.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2014

Christopher Deeming

Our attitudes, values and tastes are shaped by our position in social space. At least, that was the argument Pierre Bourdieu set out in his seminal work, La Distinction

Abstract

Purpose

Our attitudes, values and tastes are shaped by our position in social space. At least, that was the argument Pierre Bourdieu set out in his seminal work, La Distinction. The purpose of this paper is to consider Bourdieu's theory of cultural reproduction and his argument that working-class families exhibit cultural attitudes and tastes for social necessity.

Design/methodology/approach

Attitudinal data relating to social necessity are taken from a national social survey of the British population. The results provide a rich source of data for exploring classed attitudes towards necessity in contemporary Britain.

Findings

Bourdieu's original claims for working-class “choice of the necessary” and working-class “taste for necessity” are based on his observations grounded in social survey evidence drawn from 1960s French society. Analysis of contemporary British social survey and attitudinal data also reveals sharp contours and differences in attitudes and tastes according to class fractions. These are evident in classed tastes and preferences for food, clothes, the home and social life.

Social implications

Within the Bourdieusian theoretical framework, we understand that the tastes of necessity are preferences that arise as adaptations to deprivation of necessary goods and services. La Distinction and Bourdieu's approach to unmasking inequalities and structures in social space continue to be relevant in contemporary Britain. More generally, study findings add to the growing evidence that casts some doubt on current arguments concerning “individualisation”, claiming that social class has ceased to be significant in modern societies.

Originality/value

This paper sheds fresh light on the empirical validity and continuing theoretical relevance of Bourdieu's work examining the role of social necessity in shaping working-class culture. Bourdieu argues that the real principle of our preferences is taste and for working-class families, this is a virtue made of necessity.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 34 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1990

Michael Calnan and Sarah Cant

Evidence from epidemiological studies (Doll and Peto, 1981 European Atherosclerosis Society, 1987) has clearly pointed to a strong association between food consumption and…

Abstract

Evidence from epidemiological studies (Doll and Peto, 1981 European Atherosclerosis Society, 1987) has clearly pointed to a strong association between food consumption and disease. This association has been used to account at least in part for the relationship between social class and a range of diseases (Townsend, Davidson and Whitehead, 1988), as evidence from survey research (MAFF, 1987) suggests that patterns of food consumption and dietary intake vary markedly between social classes and income groups. The aim of this article, drawing on data derived from an exploratory, qualitative investigation of patterns of food consumption in middle class and working class households, attempts to throw some light on the relationship between social class and food consumption.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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