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Middle Class Occupational Identities

The first of two related “identity” PowerPoint Presentations, this one identifies a number of occupational identities that contribute to the shaping of middle class identities:

  • Professionals
  • Managers
  • Consultants
  • Intellectuals
  • Service Workers
  • As ever, the list is indicative rather than prescriptive, designed mainly to provide a general starting-point for further investigation and discussion.

    In this respect the Presentation also suggests some key features of middle class occupational identities:

  • the importance of symbolic cultural capital (educational and work-based qualifications)
  • personal autonomy
  • decision-making
  • career structures and progressions
  • knowledge work
  • remuneration
  • power and control over others.
  • Each of these – and probably a few others you can think of – is suggested as a possible stepping-off point for any wider discussions / investigations you want to carry-out.

    Social Identities

    While the Presentation isn’t designed to do much more than serve as a way of introduing students to different types of middle class occupational groupings – the semi-legendary “Middle Class Identities | 2: Cultural Identities” will take things a step further once I’ve cobbled it together carefully planned it out – it can also be useful as a way of both thinking about social identities (occupation, along with gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality and disability, is a key social identity in our culture) and moving away from the idea that “identity” is just about “Who am I?”.

    One of the things about identity that tends to get a little neglected at a-level is that it’s also very much about “Who We Are” and, by extension, how this “sense of Us” (the groups to which we belong, aspire to belong to or, indeed, deny us entry) impacts on our sense of individual identity.   While we see this idea most clearly in relation to something like National Identities, it’s also something that can be found in the margins: middle class identities, for example, are just as much bound-up in occupational statuses and achievements as is more-clearly the case with their working class counterparts.

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