Department of Political Science

Dimensions of class identification? On the roots and effects of class identity

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Throughout the 20th century, objective class position was a strong predictor of both class identity, political preferences and party choice, but since the 1980s, the relationship between objective and subjective dimensions of class has supposedly vanished–according to some as the result of a fundamental blurring of class relations. However, others suggest that this result may be partly due to the use of outdated class schemes. Although still basically focused on inequality of life chances, class relations today are complex and include more than labor market position, such as different forms of cultural resources (e.g., education). As a result, class identity may also have become more complex, and possibly dependent upon the salience of different resources and types of group relations—both in itself and in its relationship with political preferences. Very few contributions, though, test such claims. Using two independent Danish surveys, this paper investigates to what extent class identification is multidimensional and how any such dimensionality is related to, on the one hand, different dimensions of objective class relations and, on the other hand, different dimensions of political conflict. The analyses show that despite changes at the overall, societal level, class identity remains a primarily unidimensional concept both in its structural origins and its relationship with politics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Pages (from-to)942-958
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. The British Journal of Sociology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of London School of Economics and Political Science.

    Research areas

  • class and politics, class identity, Denmark, party choice, political attitudes, social structure

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