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Social Class and Underclass in Britain and the USA

Gordon Marshall, Stephen Roberts and Carole Burgoyne
The British Journal of Sociology
Vol. 47, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 22-44
DOI: 10.2307/591114
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/591114
Page Count: 23
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Social Class and Underclass in Britain and the USA
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Abstract

It is commonly argued that the research programme of class analysis is undermined by its apparent neglect of large numbers of economically-inactive adults who do not form part of the analysis, but are affected by class processes, and form distinctive elements within any class structure. This paper disputes the claim that welfare dependents, the retired, and domestic housekeepers show distinctive patterns of socio-political class formation. Nor are the class-related attributes of the supposed underclass so distinct that they require separate treatment in a class analysis. Evidence which supports the orthodox strategy of sampling economically-active men and women is taken from national sample surveys of adults in Britain and the USA.

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