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Two Latent Groups Influencing Subjective Social Status: Middle Class Tendency and Clear Class Consciousness

Abstract

Previous studies clarified that many individuals tend to attribute themselves into the middle-class, explaining this tendency by referring to group reference theory. This article aims to explore the formation of subjective social status from a different point of view. To do so, the author analyzed the data from the Stratification and Social Psychology Interview Survey in 2010 (SSP-I 2010) and the Stratification and Social Psychology Survey in 2015 (SSP 2015), which were conducted in Japan. The results of the analyses reveal that the population can be categorized into two latent groups: one demonstrates a middle-class tendency in distributions of subjective social status, and the other demonstrates a clear class consciousness. The former group was composed of wealthy individuals, and the latter group was composed of not-wealthy individuals. Furthermore, the results also clarified that the composition rates of the two latent groups had been stable from 2010 (a period of economic stagnation) to 2015 (a period of economic boom), irrespective of socio-economic changes. Finally, the author discusses the implications of these findings.

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Fig. 1

Source: Stratification and social psychology surveys in 2010 and 2015

Fig. 2

Availability of data and materials

The SSP Project (http://ssp.hus.osaka-u.ac.jp/) allowed me to use the SSP-I 2010 and the SSP 2015.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank anonymous reviewers of Social Indicators Research for their helpful comments and suggestion. I would also like to thank the SSP Project (http://ssp.hus.osaka-u.ac.jp/) for giving me permission to use the SSP-I 2010 and the SSP 2015. This research is supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI (19H00609, 21H00776). Part of the earlier idea of this study were presented in the ASA 114th Annual Meeting.

Funding

This research is supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (19H00609, 21H00776).

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Correspondence to Naoki Sudo.

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Sudo, N. Two Latent Groups Influencing Subjective Social Status: Middle Class Tendency and Clear Class Consciousness. Soc Indic Res 158, 1045–1064 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-021-02731-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-021-02731-6

Keywords

  • Subjective social status
  • Middle-class tendency
  • Class consciousness
  • Social inequality