’Class’ in Britain has often been framed — from within and without — as a peculiarly ‘British’ question, with a distinctive national preoccupation with class. This is fortunate, since it allows us to sidestep the question of whether it is appropriate to speak of ‘national’ sociologies in a globalizing world (Beck, 2007). George Orwell writing in 1941 saw the British ‘as the most class-ridden country under the sun’ (1982, p. 53), whilst 56 years later Stein Ringen (1997, p. 7) writing from an avowed outsider’s perspective saw ‘this thing the British have with class’ as both a ‘fascinating peculiarity’ and ‘a sign of closed minds’ which he traced in both sociological and popular accounts. Certainly, class analysis was once regarded as central to British sociology in a way not attributed to other national sociologies. But if there is a particularly ‘British’ sociological approach to class, it has been one strongly shaped by transnational conversations, until the 1980s essentially an argument with American liberal theorists then, after a period of ‘crisis’, a more congenial European dialogue when British class analysis acquired something of a French accent. However, quite what ‘class’ means when we consider ‘this thing the British have with class’ is an interesting question, since both academic and popular meanings of ’class’ seem so diverse and changeable.
- Class Analysis
- Social Mobility
- Class Relation
- Class Identity
- Class Inequality
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Bottero, W. (2014). ‘Class’ in Britain. In: Holmwood, J., Scott, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Sociology in Britain. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137318862_24
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