Updated: Friday, 17th May 2019 @ 1:55pm

Are you rich ‘Elite’ or poor ‘Precariat’? Social class model revamped by research led by Manchester uni experts

Are you rich ‘Elite’ or poor ‘Precariat’? Social class model revamped by research led by Manchester uni experts

By Danielle Wainwright

The social class model in Britain is being revamped as people no longer fit the stereotypes of 'middle' and 'working class', according to new research led by Manchester university experts.

The Great British Survey (GBCS) has charted the emergence of a new class system amongst 161,000 people in their paper 'A New Model of Social Class’ and has found seven new groups which blur the conventional boundaries of working, middle and upper class people.

The new groups consist of the Elite; the wealthiest Britons, the Established, Traditional and Technical working class, The New Affluent and Emergent Service Workers and the Precariat; the poorest and most deprived group of people.

The survey, led by BBC LabUK and leading sociologists Professor Fiona Devine from The University of Manchester and Professor Mike Savage from the London School of Economics has been published in this month’s issue of the journal Sociology.

What class are you? Take the test here.

Professor Savage said: “Occupation has been the traditional way to define a person’s class, but this is actually too simplistic.

“In fact, social class goes far wider than that: economic, social, and cultural dimensions all play an important role.

“So economic capital: income, savings, house value; social capital: The number and status of people we know; and cultural capital: the extent and nature of cultural interests and activities all play a part.”

The results show that only 39% of Britons now fit the stereotypes of middle and working class – those in the 'Established Middle Class' and the 'Traditional Working Class'.

The Technical Middle Class is small and distinctive that is prosperous but scores low for social and cultural capital. It is distinguished by its social isolation and cultural apathy.

The New Affluent Workers are young and culturally active, with middling levels of economic capital and The Emergent Service Workers are a young urban group who are relatively poor with high social and cultural capital.

Professor Devine said: “Many people think that the problem of social and cultural engagement is more marked in poorer class groups, but the GBCS shows that our levels of social and cultural capital don’t always mirror our economic success.”

Professor Savage added: “The Elite group is shown to have the most privileged backgrounds also is an important demonstration of the accentuation of social advantage at the top of British society.

“But a relatively old and small traditional working class is fading from contemporary importance.”

Picture courtesy of Images of Money, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.