Class, status and party in contemporary British society

Publication type

Conference Paper


International Sociological Association Research Committee 28 (RC28) on Social Stratification and Mobility Los Angeles Meeting, August 18-21, 2005


Publication date

June 1, 2005


In several papers previously read at this research committee, we argue that (1) a status order in the classical Weberian sense still exists in contemporary British society (Chan and Goldthorpe, 2004), and that (2) consistent with the Weberian perspective, this status order is more relevant than class in explaining patterns of cultural consumption (Chan and Goldthorpe, 2005a,b,c). In this paper, we report further results that are complementary to our previous papers. We use data from the 1997 and 2001 British Election Studies to show that it is class rather than status which predicts the choice between voting for the Conservatives or Labour. Using data from the British Household
Panel Survey 1991-2002, we show that again class rather than status differentiates the risks of experiencing recurrent or long-term unemployment. Overall, these results lend support to our claim that class and status are related but distinct dimensions of social stratification, and they help us understand different aspects of social life.






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