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Thread: Social classes still matter in Britain

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    I'm not sure if it would be the same, but I will try to clarify more what I stated earlier. I enjoy people who are at least some what upfront. Of course you don't need to tell me all your secrets, or you will share some depending on the closeness of your relationship with me. But I enjoy talking with people who can at least embrace different opinions. People who run from discussions because there are differing views don't impress me very much. often differing views come from different value systems, which influence perceptions.

    I have friends who work in blue collar industries, who enjoy simplier lives than I would be happy with, but I don't question why it makes them happy. Hey, it's their lives, who am I tell them how to live them?

    As to religion, its influence in my life is minimal. I am happy to enjoy nature, that is why sometimes the artificialness of the city depresses me at times. People arguing over 'god' is like argueing over whose language's word is better or more correct for an object. They are all labels for the same thing, so of course none of them are 'better' or more correct than one from another language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    Sorry Minty,
    Your original statement
    has two meanings, and I unfortunately took it to mean that the French don't pay a lot of attention to social class, but the Americans do. My apologies for any confusion caused.
    That's ok, as long as we come to an understanding, after all this is an international forum.

    You wouldn't know that, except that I have told you now (about the French friends). Also of course, it would include any French colleagues (possibly not 'real' friends) I have and their opinions about this same subject matter.
    As to my Japanese friends commenting about the French, I thought it was fairly clear I wasn't telling you about their opinions as they weren't mentioned when I made my intial statement (i.e. My Japanese friends think....).
    Hmm, sounds odd. Most of my friends don't, though I am not very class conscious. I see it a lot here in Japan, even though some still believe in the myth of 'one class' (though how class is expressed here is sometimes more likley to be through luxary brand and name dropping, not family history). But than again how many people are related to a real samurai?
    You just said most of your friends don't and that you are not very class conscious, you didn't say most of your American and French friends don't.

    You friends can be of any nationalities, but I have guessed Americans and Japanese because of where you come from and where you are living right now.

    Yes, different cultures definately don't think the same, though I would be more likely to say the English and the French don't get along (rather than the Americans and the French).
    I see, is this your personal experience? It is just that I have seen numerous hostilities toward French from Americans in their message boards.
    Last edited by Minty; 08-11-06 at 00:31.



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    Yes, but historically the French and the British have not gotten along for years, the Concorde service and the Eurotunnel being exceptions (that of course doesn't stop many British tourists from going to France, and vice versa, though I do think the French are getting the worse end of the deal).
    Minty posted
    You just said most of your friends don't and that you are not very class conscious, you didn't say most of your American and French friends don't.
    But I was talking about Americans within the context of my posts, please look at my original posts to confirm that (related to the thread title and Maciamo's first post and subsequent link to the Economist article). I was questioning why you (mistakenly on my part) and Maciamo thought that Americans were more socially class conscious than British people (more so than the French, though I would opine the French are more class conscious than Americans, but I can not speak on that matter with as much authority as you or Maciamo can).
    Last edited by gaijinalways; 08-11-06 at 18:07. Reason: confusing original meaning

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    I was questioning why you (mistakenly) and Maciamo thought that Americans were more socially class conscious than British people (more so than the French, though I would opine the French are more class conscious than Americans, but I can not speak on that matter with as much authority as you or Maciamo can).
    I never said that American were class conscious, on the contrary. The Economist never said that either. You are confusing two fundamental, yet completely different concepts :

    1) the actual division of society in classes, and real gaps between classes

    2) class consciousness (they way people perceive and care about the above division)

    The USA has big gaps between its social classes, as much for money as for education or behaviour, but for some cultural reason the American people do not like admitting those divisions, or they are just bad at recognising which social class they belong to. The same is true of the French to a lesser extent. France is probably as divided, if not more, than Britain, but French people aren't as class conscious as the Brits, or at least in a less direct manner. I think that many French people do socialise within their class, but more unconsciously than the Brits.
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    Maciamo posted
    ) the actual division of society in classes, and real gaps between classes

    2) class consciousness (they way people perceive and care about the above division)

    The USA has big gaps between its social classes, as much for money as for education or behaviour, but for some cultural reason the American people do not like admitting those divisions, or they are just bad at recognising which social class they belong to.
    No, I am talking about the consciousness of the class differences, and I am saying that the Americans I know and associate with are not that concerned with them. Yes, I am very aware that there are major class differences in the US, but to state it bluntly, I have found there are assholes in all classes. The only differences might be that the richer assholes can perhaps bullshit more eloquently and can afford things that perhaps we may only dream about, but that we probably really don't need. But than again, I sleep comfortably at night because I know I didn't screw anyone over to get to where I am and I also don't have to fret and worry over what I don't have.

    So I would have to ask, how much experience do you have dealing with Americans, especially in the states? I really have to wonder about this international survey also, did they interview all people who live in cities? Were the surveys really truly representative of the populations of each country?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    Maciamo posted
    No, I am talking about the consciousness of the class differences, and I am saying that the Americans I know and associate with are not that concerned with them.
    Yes, that is exactly what I mean in point 2. The USA has clear social classes (1), but most Americans don't care much about them in their daly life (2).

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    Yes, but historically the French and the British have not gotten along for years, the Concorde service and the Eurotunnel being exceptions (that of course doesn't stop many British tourists from going to France, and vice versa, though I do think the French are getting the worse end of the deal).
    I know about the reasons why British and French don't get along, but from my experiences participating in the American message boards I get the feeling that Americans too don't get along with the French. I believe this has something do to with politics.

    Minty posted
    But I was talking about Americans within the context of my posts, please look at my original posts to confirm that (related to the thread title and Maciamo's first post and subsequent link to the Economist article). I was questioning why you (mistakenly on my part) and Maciamo thought that Americans were more socially class conscious than British people (more so than the French, though I would opine the French are more class conscious than Americans, but I can not speak on that matter with as much authority as you or Maciamo can).
    Hmmm, this is strange I didn't say that Americans were more socially class conscious than British people or more so than French. I actually think British is the most class conscious out of the 3 and I used to think Americans and French are about the same until I saw the studies Maciamo directed to me earlier on.

    As I am originally from a country where people are very class conscious and not egalitarian, when I have the opportunity to live in western countries and have been studying many western ideologies I find Australians, Americans (I never lived in US but dozens of my mum's Taiwanese relatives live there and still in close contacts with my mum), and French much more egalitarian than where I come from originally.
    Last edited by Minty; 08-11-06 at 23:37.

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    Posted by gaijinalways
    Sorry Minty,
    Your original statement
    has two meanings, and I unfortunately took it to mean that the French don't pay a lot of attention to social class, but the Americans do. My apologies for any confusion caused.
    Yes, I know Minty, as I said I mistakenly thought that you thought Americans were very class conscious. I know differently now, as I stated earlier.

    Maciamo, stating that Americans know about the differences and aren't concerned about them and that they are unaware of them are two different opinions. You stated earlier that Americans didn't seem to be truly aware of them (bad at recognizing them) or that they didn't like admitting to their existance. I find neither of those statments to be true.

    Maciamo posted
    ....but for some cultural reason the American people do not like admitting those divisions, or they are just bad at recognising which social class they belong to.
    I also apologize for using some stronger langauge in my last post. I don't really want to spar over semantics, but your earlier post doesn't have the same meaning as your latest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post


    Americans really don't care about social class.


    Typical ordinary Americans are not class conscious,commonly see themselves as " middle-class " whatever that means.

    However,there is a closet " aristocracy " class in America's high society,a world of it's own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricecake View Post
    Typical ordinary Americans are not class conscious,commonly see themselves as " middle-class " whatever that means.
    Using my definition of class for Europe, over half of the American people are lower class or lower-middle class, with maybe 30% of middle class, 10-15% of upper middle class, and less than 1% of upper class (no country to my knowledge has more than 1% of upper class anyway - except Monaco ).
    Last edited by Maciamo; 26-12-09 at 14:00.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricecake View Post
    Typical ordinary Americans are not class conscious,commonly see themselves as " middle-class " whatever that means.

    However,there is a closet " aristocracy " class in America's high society,a world of it's own.
    The middle-class is a vague, but the reason why alot of Americans consider themselves middle-class is because a large population of Americans are middle-class. And it's subdivided.
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    Some new (derogatory) slang words have emerged to describe some varieties of lower class people. For instance chav in England, or beauf in France.

    In the French-speaking part of Belgium the word barakî, from Walloon for "travelling showman" who live in a baraque (fairground booth/stall, shanty), has long been used to refer to any neglected and vulgar lower class person.

    The Walloons also use the term "Ronny" for lower-class young men who like to show off by driving loudly or dangerously on a moped/scooter or a car, typically with the music playing very loud. This is usually done in small group, and their dressing style reminds of the chavs in England. A close French equivalent is Jacky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I agree with British people that social classes is much more than how much one earns, and is better reflected in the person's character, accent, way of dressing, family background, etc. than in the paycheck.
    Exactly ! I do like the way British people assess social classes, it has nothing to do with how big is your bank account, as you can't buy "Education" and by personal experience, lived 9 years in UK, never felt such a huge gap between social classes, encountered people from different backgrounds with no problem, can't say the same about French social classes, yes ! wondering sometimes if they really had a revolution ?

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    Maciamo,

    What's your background? You have an almost English sort of class-awareness, though you speak about it all a bit more methodically than any sensible Englishman would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Invictus_88 View Post
    Maciamo,

    What's your background? You have an almost English sort of class-awareness, though you speak about it all a bit more methodically than any sensible Englishman would.
    I am Belgian, but have lived in England and Australia, among other countries. British people may be more class-aware than most other nationalities, but in every country I have lived social classes do exist; it's just that people do not necessarily think about it consciously.

    The class gap isn't as big in all societies. I found it less extreme in Scandinavia and Japan. Belgium and France are similar to the UK, although not always as obvious from one's accent. The two countries (where I have been) were the disparity between social classes is the most extreme are India and the USA. The contrast between the two is that Indians are perfectly aware of these discrepancies, while Americans usually have a tendency to refute the idea of social class, or just like to think of themselves as middle class, even if they are not. In my experience I noticed that American, Japanese and French people aren't very sensitive to the difference between lower-middle, middle and upper-middle class. Yet these three categories encompass the biggest part of the population.

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    Hi everyone I'm dan and I'm a 16 year old who has just finished his GCSEs. I want to go into further education but I'm worried if I dont get in. A question I asked myself was what is the difference of acceptance between the classes in the UK preferably England. I come from the midlands as well.

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    No

    I think really the only people who still identify and care about class are the 'upper' class and the people who still carry titles. These people are few and far between. They think they are the 'shit' and better than everyone else and they live in their own little world of cotillions and champagne dinners and other strange social events to discuss how great they all are and how everyone else is beneath them.

    90% of the UK population doesn't give a shit and are just trying to get on with their lives

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    Maciamo, I agree that America is not the classless society it claims to be. There are a number of classes mostly defined by relative affluence, also by function, education etc.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    The BBC posted an interesting article on social class in Britain today. Here are a few excerpts:

    "Considering factors like education, salary, professions, and household ownership, the BBC’s own Great British Class Survey discovered seven distinct classes in total, with an elite (representing roughly 6% of the population) residing above a wide spectrum of working and middle classes."

    "According to a 2010 report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Britain is indeed among the worst countries for certain measures of social mobility, with the parents’ wealth strongly influencing the child’s prospects of higher education and a good salary. "

    "Tak Wing Chan at University College London, for instance, has found that a child is two-and-a-half times as likely to have a professional or managerial job, if their grandparents were of a higher class."

    "Yet Clark suspects that our genes may also play a role. Perhaps some families are just carrying the DNA that helps them succeed, he says. Such genetic determinism tends to be an unpopular idea among many scientists.
    "

    As I mentioned a few years ago in this thread, it is not that social classes are more distinct in Britain than elsewhere, but just that British people are just more observant and aware of social classes, be their own or that of other people. As the article says:

    "If these results appear to confirm the “inertia” of the British class system, it’s worth considering Clark’s studies of other countries, examining attendance at the USA’s Ivy League colleges and the State Bar Associations listings of attorneys or the American Medical Association, for instance. Despite perceptions of greater social mobility, he found that the rate of change was roughly the same as in Britain. The same turned out to be true for Sweden; although the overall differences in wealth do tend to be smaller between the rich and poor, you still find the same families occupying the more prestigious jobs – such as doctors, lawyers, or university professors."

    You can take the test to determine what what your social class would be in the UK: The Great British class calculator: What class are you?

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    "Yet Clark suspects that our genes may also play a role. Perhaps some families are just carrying the DNA that helps them succeed, he says. "
    Main genetic factor for success could be a very good memory, a genetic parental trait, which will allow to memorise all the material to become a family doctor for example. Other genetic traits helping being successful are perseverance, logical thinking, critical thinking, being social and easygoing, creativity, etc.

    When I was a kid in Poland in 70s, where doctor didn't make much more than a factory worker, and intellectual class couldn't send kids to private schools or give them a better start for their money or lack of it, one could see immediate genetic effect even in kindergarten and elementary school. Kids of doctors, lawyers, engineers were learning faster, had better attention, and generally a better logic (though not by a lot). Needless to say they always had better marks than the rest of the class. Kidds of factory workers, simple physical jobs, and parents with social-economic problems, were at the bottom of the score. The effect was mostly genetic, with economic factor lagging far behind.

    Such genetic determinism tends to be an unpopular idea among many scientists.
    Example of scientists who had great memory to acquire knowledge to become one, but lack critical and logical thinking to understand complexity of human nature. :) We are not going to see their names in scientific breakthroughs, nobel prizes or monumental works.
    Last edited by LeBrok; 07-04-16 at 18:48.
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    I definitely think there are genetic factors involved, as unpalatable as that may be for some people.

    However, I'm very skeptical of the finding that social mobility is the same in the U.S. as in Britain. If I just look around my own neighborhood, not one of these professionals or business owners has a great-grandparent who was in the professions or even had a university education. The grandfather of the Irish-German American lawyer next door was a cop, the great-grandfather of the Italian-American doctor down the street was a bricklayer, the grandfather of the German-American financial analyst across the street was a postman, my best friend, who was a high school principal, is descended from a Jewish tailor on the lower east side.

    I'd like to see the study redone with Americans of European descent so there aren't confounding factors involving racial discrimination, learned dependence etc.

    You'd also have to control for IQ. In other words, how easy is it for someone with a high IQ to rise in the US versus Europe.


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    If you are interested to know into which social class you would fit in Britain, please read this article based on British anthropologist Kate Fox's book Watching the English. As she explains in the book, British social classes are not related to how much money one makes. Some CEO's are working class, while some upper class aristocrats may be broke. Some of the essential determinants of class include:

    - the way one speaks
    - the way one dresses
    - the breed of one's pet
    - the type or marmelade one eats
    - the words one uses
    - what newspaper one reads
    - whether we prefer carpeted or hardwood floor
    - whether we have matching furniture (typically middle-middle class) or inherited antiques (like the higher classes)
    - what type of flower we grow in our garden
    - the make of one's car (Mercedes are for nouveaux riches working or lower-middle classes, not for the elite as in other countries) and how messy it is (messier means either upper or working class, depending on the type of car)


    There are dozens of other factors. I won't list them all here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaguar View Post
    there is also class in china
    and maybe class exists in every part of the world
    it cann't be eliminated though it bothers the society
    Yes they exists in every part of the world. I believe so.

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