Oct 25, 2006, 12:46 PM
Post #71 of 93
Tony, I was referring to the American "bible" on class, Paul Fussell's classic treatise: "Class: A Guide Through the American Status System" and some popular works based on his typology, which is:
Re: [tony] (What is) Mexico's Middle Class
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1. Top out-of-sight: the “Old Money” wealthy who avoid public exposure (in part, due to experiences during the 1930s, when it was not to one’s advantage to be wealthy).
2. Upper Class: a group of those who are not only wealthy, but usually born into the wealth, and who espouse a different set of values than wealthy middle-class people or “proles”.
3. Upper-Middle Class: much better off than the majority, this class still lives primarily off earned income derived from professional status requiring expensive education: doctors, attorneys, upper-middle management, and so forth. Dentists and accountants are somewhat more problematic. This class is characterized by intense interest in higher education, and is generally the target audience of mainstream but elitist publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and so forth.
4. Middle Class: most “white collar” workers, including many of the self-employed, and a group most afflicted with status anxiety and confusion, envying the refinement of the upper-middle class and the leisure of the uppers.
5. High Prole: skilled, often wealthy manufacturing or service workers, who may outearn middle and even upper-middle class people but maintain a distinctively “lowbrow” culture.
6. Mid Prole: an intermediate level of often poor workers, but with stable employment and relative security.
7. Low Prole: the working poor, with difficulty finding steady employment.
8. Destitute: the homeless underclass.
9. Bottom out-of-sight: those incarcerated in prisons, or otherwise outside the purview of sociology; like top-out-of-sights, they fall so low in society as to become effectively invisible.
Fussell also proposes the existence of a small subset of Americans who don’t fit into any of the above social classes, known as “Category X”. Recruited from all social classes, they are the intellectual, stylish misfits whom others try to emulate, but by no means qualify as an elite. Fussell claims “X” to be a category rather than class since one gains membership on account of personal qualities and values rather than social background or breeding.
On Sunday, May 15, 2005, The New York Times began their “Class Matters” series declaring “class is still a powerful force in American life.” The month-long series has examined class disparities in marriage, educational opportunities, religious life and comparative immigration experienceshttp://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/index.html
Accrding to NYT Class is a lot more than money. It“influences destiny in a society that likes to think of itself as a land of unbounded opportunity.” “One way to think of a person's position in society is to imagine a hand of cards. Everyone is dealt FOUR cards, one from each suit: EDUCATION, INCOME, OCCUPATION and WEALTH, the four commonly used criteria for gauging class. Face cards in a few categories may land a player in the upper middle class.”
And, perhaps most importantly for the majority of Americans: One of the dramatic findings in the first Times article is the glaring disparity between the public perception of mobility in American and the reality. Americans overwhelmingly believe that they live in a mobile society. Half of those polled believe they have a chance to become financially wealthy. But the data now shows that the U.S. has LESS mobility than the countries of Europe, which Americans always thought of as having rigid class and caste system.
In Mexico, according to most observers the social mobility is even more curtailed that it becomes in the USA do to remnants of medieval Spanish social system superimposed over a racial divine in the " new world".
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!
(This post was edited by MariaLund on Oct 25, 2006, 12:54 PM)