Fabrizio Bernardi

Globalisation, Individualisation and the Death of Social Class: An Empirical Assessment for 18 European Countries

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: globalisation, social class, inequality

This paper aims to contribute to the debate on the alleged "death" of social class in two ways. First, it critically examines the theoretical arguments that link the globalisation process to changes in patterns of social inequality and class decomposition in advanced Oecd countries. Second, it provides an empirical assessment of the claim of the death of social class for various dimensions of inequality and for a large number of Eu countries. More precisely, this articles focuses on class-based inequalities in self-assessed health, educational attainment, social mobility, risk of unemployment and of having a temporary contract, and on class effects on a non-traditional political behaviour such as political consumerism. The empirical analysis is based on data drawn from the European Social Survey and a recent comparative project on social mobility. The results consistently show that social class is still a powerful factor that affects individual life chances and consumption behaviour. The main conclusion of the article is that the claim that social classes are useless in interpreting patterns of inequality in advanced societies is largely exaggerated.

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