The Social Structure of England Part I

Two years ago, when the British Institute of Public Opinion asked a random sample of grown-up persons of both sexes to what social class they considered themselves to belong, rather less than half of those who answered said that they belonged to the working class. What was at first thought more startling was that those who gave this answer were slightly outnumbered by those who regarded themselves as belonging to the middle classes only one out. of every fifty who were asked described himself or herself as a member of the upper class. Such answers are of course highly subjective : they tell us, not what class a person does belong to, but how he reacts at a particular time to a question framed in a particular way. In this instance, the result may have been affected by the fact that the persons questioned were given three grades of middle-classness – upper, middle and lower – to choose from, whereas the entire working class was lumped together without any sub-division. This may have led to some of those who were doubtful assigning themselves to the lower middle rather than to the working-class group .

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