class in the UK - how the fuck does it work?

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a) The insistence on calling upper class people "middle class", thus conflating very well off people with people who are just above the working class in terms of financial security
It would totally make sense to split the population into thirds by wealth, or at least have the top 10% be upper class or something. But yeah, Britain is still wary of using the term "upper class" for anyone but those with aristocratic connections. There is a grey area with very posh people who don't seem to be connected to a hereditary title. And of course British people don't agree among themselves about class labels.

― Alba, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:02 (twenty-four minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I think the distinctions, though they may once have mattered, are increasingly obfuscatory to how wealth and power now operate

There’s the 1% and there’s the rest of us imo

― Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:05 (twenty-one minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

the top tier upper/middle division tends to come down to ownership of land, mostly pre Industrial Revolution/late 18th century

like everything else in this soup it's nonsenical up to the point where it does actually tell you something about manners/attitudes/politics/self ID

the 18th century bourgeoisie marrying itself to the landed aristos is a big part of the industrial revolution because both sides had stuff to gain

that division is less important 200-odd years later of course EXCEPT TO THE KIND OF PEOPLE TO WHOM ITS ACTUALLY STILL REALLY IMPORTANT

― saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:06 (twenty-one minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

but yes that wasn't an argument with you Trace, most difference it might make to me is order of the guillotine/gulag/re-education queue, which ultimately will be down to the queuers themselves

― saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:07 (nineteen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

it does still give you little clues about why different groups of Tories are weird/snobbish about each other tho

― saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:08 (eighteen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:30 (five months ago) link

Picking up a specific strand here:

xps the main reason we call some rich people middle class is that we still have an actual aristocracy but it gets a little muddled with aristos doing capitalist shit and new money types who might be richer than them but are excluded from certain old boys networks or whatever. I don't know how it all works

This sort of snobbery also exists elsewhere, but it breaks down as Old Money vs New Money. Old Money may include members of a country's aristocracy but even when it doesn't literally do so the dynamic is imo still very close.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:34 (five months ago) link

I was thinking last night about Tom D's statement that class is actually quite simple, not very intricate. I liked it, and I like Tracer Hand's statement about the 1% also.

It's good not to over-complicate these things or make a fetish of saying how marvellously intricate they are.

My thoughts, though, also led me to think, idly enough, about the 'cultural experience of class', and how relatively subtle this can be. I was thinking about how I am middle-class, yet among certain kinds of middle-class people I still feel like an outsider and ... interloper? from a lower level. Well, maybe just a bit like the way working-class people have always said they feel among middle-class people.

I think private school has something to do with it; as does Oxbridge though they didn't all go to Oxbridge; and there are factors of how people talk, think, even dress, which I notice. It partly emerges in that thing that people have always cited re private schools: 'confidence'; and partly maybe a kind of complacency.

If I were to attend an LRB board meeting or staff party I would probably get this feeling.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:35 (five months ago) link

yeah the old/new money thing largely tracks

there's an a specific history in the UK of land ownership informing political party structures - Tory/Whig is a lot about the old aristocracy and the rising bourgeoisie, but then to the extent i know about that in other countries that probably tracks too

US exception because of the vast swathes of land to colonise maybe?

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:37 (five months ago) link

Land ownership as a factor in the UK seems important. It’s crazy how so much of the land is owned by so few people. And ofc it’s the only asset you can’t make more of.

barry sito (gyac), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:39 (five months ago) link

"he's like an unemployed teacher - nae class!"

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:40 (five months ago) link

pinefox i generally agree about the simplicity of class structure and wish it were entirely true but i can't help but reflect on my own experiences of feeling othered or ignored based on cultural markers? partly this is my own internal self-doubt but i must say that broadly, it isn't. intelligence, manners, position can still be subsumed by accent and other markers in the UK, in terms of other people's attitudes to us in a work environment for example.

in the interests of honesty i don't really identify within a class. i would totally identify my mom and dad and their parents and so forth as working class but for better or worse my life has taken me into work and situations where i "pass" as middle class, and i'll accept that might make me middle class, i don't much care, but i feel that lostness of being between two tribes quite a bit

also i know whose company i tend to seek out or feel more comfortable in, even tho on an individual basis i don't care at all about somebody's self-perceived class environment

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:43 (five months ago) link

Also a thing you see in the media, which may or may not be related to pinefox’s point above, is this insistence on what counts as culturally working class vs middle class. Like the anti intellectual bent of it, like the near silence in library closures from much of the press, like the infamous HLew tweet which is so telling of that mentality. What could these people have to offer? Offer them shit, that’s all they’re interested in, after all.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EtfhjcwWgAEX2K0?format=jpg&name=900x900

barry sito (gyac), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:43 (five months ago) link

oh my god between that one and the "coffee is middle class" bit she's a pure example of blinkered belonging to a specific social construct

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:45 (five months ago) link

It’s like, real working class people aren’t interested in books that aren’t Harry Potter/films with subtitles, they’re too busy working and worrying about bills. As though art hasn’t ever been an escape for all people, especially people who value their precious free time!

barry sito (gyac), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:45 (five months ago) link

i go back to that comment somebody made to me at uni - it was a huge FUCK YOU that i probably should have grown out of by now but hey, lol

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:47 (five months ago) link

and yet when you think about the huge range of interests of working class people you know, when you look at the history of the working class education movement that people had to build out of nothing, the lie is right there

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:48 (five months ago) link

also there's quite a diff btw London/southern middleclass and midlands/northern middleclass

fetter, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:50 (five months ago) link

Oh here we go

barry sito (gyac), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:50 (five months ago) link

srsly think accent is the least of it and the least reliable

i believe most people are contextually parrotish with accents

obv certain accents have come to connote class but generally in the lamest way?

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:52 (five months ago) link

It's reliable enough for most London based media twats

Fronted by a bearded Phil Collins (Tom D.), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:57 (five months ago) link

pinefox i generally agree about the simplicity of class structure and wish it were entirely true but i can't help but reflect on my own experiences of feeling othered or ignored based on cultural markers?

Yes, I think this is exactly what my own post above was saying.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:58 (five months ago) link

seriously disagree Tom. i think people are v poor at picking up the nuances of accents from places they're not familiar with.

obv you're familiar with that milieu but like i said before, people learn to *pass*

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 12:59 (five months ago) link

pinefox i read your earlier post back, yes, sorry, i agree

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:00 (five months ago) link

And I agree that accent is extremely unreliable bit it isn't considered unreliable by the media - hence the whole gammon fiasco.

Fronted by a bearded Phil Collins (Tom D.), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:03 (five months ago) link

oh yeah agree

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:04 (five months ago) link

regional (non-RP) accents seem to connote authenticity and legitimacy of concerns only if they're expressing conservative views, otherwise they're just mocked or ignored - some kind of RP still seems to be a requirement for most kinds of "serious" political and intellectual leadership. this is definitely about class but doesn't map neatly onto it in material terms and it's hard for me to locate cause and effect more precisely here

your original display name is still visible (Left), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:21 (five months ago) link

If they express conservative views they're mocked as ignorant racist Northern proles.

Fronted by a bearded Phil Collins (Tom D.), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:27 (five months ago) link

both of you otm

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:30 (five months ago) link

When I first started infant school I was practically speaking in an estuary English accent that I picked up through imitation from two middle class kids my registered childminder mum was looking after for a year. But that didn't last very long. But then I got moved to a catholic school in a posher area on account of the headmaster beating my brother with a pool cue at the previous not so posh school. I was about 8 when I first fully realised the class dynamics of getting othered/judged/disparaged by children and also adults, purely on account of the the area you are from and would try not to admit that I lived in a very rough part of Deighton. But then I'd make up for it over the next 40 odd years by never shutting the fuck up about where I grew up, lol it turns you into a wittering basketcase 4 life!

calzino, Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:40 (five months ago) link

when i started infant school my mom and dad didn't want me to be mates with a lad who had a strong Brummagem accent. i think that's partly cos they couldn't hear their own strong Walsall accents ffs

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:54 (five months ago) link

I had to learn to talk proper as a kid to be taken seriously after moving from e london to surrey and then I tried to unlearn it as a teen to sound more street as I lost interest in doing well and now I have the kind of generic estuary that can be more or less posh situationally but I find generally embarrassing in both directions esp when I unconsciously imitate who I'm speaking to. relatives who stayed in london sound more authentically working class than me but they're also mostly better off. this is a minefield and it can be v hard to disentangle the parts that are class from the parts that are other shit

your original display name is still visible (Left), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 13:59 (five months ago) link

i think the point is that we think about it yeah? like we have to think about it? say this with love

saigo no ice cream (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 26 October 2022 14:07 (five months ago) link


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