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The EGP Class Scheme: In Search of a Theory

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The present paper engages polemically perhaps the most popular class typology developed by John Goldthorpe and his associates. It is commonly believed that this model, as grounded in employement relations, is economic in character, and thus opposed to an alternative way of conceptualising class based on cultural considerations. It is demonstrated in the paper that whilst the above-mentioned attribution of the class scheme under consideration may be true, it is nevertheless too narrow to the extent that the framework concerned lacks a genuinely socio-economic character, or conceives it one-sidedly. As the paper shows, most, if not all drawbacks of the class taxonomy under consideration stems from neglecting a key dimension to the economy, and at the same time-its interface with society, that is to say, property relations that are only marginally taken consideration of in the EGP scheme. Consequently, the EGP class typology is found wanting in that it confounds classes of very different socio-economic or property status. These shortcomings generate controversies, one of which, related to the supposed unity of the service or middle class is examined in detail. By contrast, it is shown in the paper that it is only through rendering ownership the basic building block through to build the overall map of social differentiation that an adequate and relatively accurate picture of basic societal divisions can be painted. This concerns not only economic ownership, but also non-economic ownership as a criterion for determining the position in the extra-economic domain of society occupied by the social estates.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 44)
J. Tittenbrun "The EGP Class Scheme: In Search of a Theory", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 44, pp. 29-44, 2015
Online since:
Dec 2014

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