Standard marketing definitions of social grading

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Standard marketing definitions of social grading

AUpper middle class . Higher managerial, administrative or professional.

BMiddle class Intermediate managerial administrative or professional.

C1Lower middle class. Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional

C2 Skilled working class. Skilled manual workers.

DWorking class Semi and unskilled manual workers.

EThose at lowest levels of subsistence. State pensioners or widows (no other earner), casual or lowest grade workers.

(Barry Hugill

“The Individual in Society” 2000)


T E X T 2



Post modernist theory promotes the idea that we now live in a media-saturated environment in which we are constantly encouraged by the media to spend money (consume). The theory suggests that we now live in a new era, in which the importance of production or work activities in shaping identities (by helping to from class instance) has declined. Some postmodernist theorists argue that class, as meaningful sociological category, no longer exists. It is claimed that we now live in a period of affluence and that it is what we buy which now determines membership of social groups and our social identity. It is these bonds of consumption – in buying Nike trainers or Prada clothes, for example – which create our sense of identity.

The typical British household now enjoys a standard of living beyond the grasp of any previous generation. And we are not alone. Most Britons are members of a global consumer society which embraces most North Americans, West Europeans; Japanese and Australians, together with the inhabitants of the Middle East oil sheikdoms and the city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore. As we hover around the cusp of the 10th and 21st century, the consumer class is on the rise, too, in Eastern Europe, Latin America and South and East Asia. Germans bought one million used Western cars in 1991 alone, while in Chinese cities, two-thirds of households now own washing machines.

Half a century after the end of the Second World War, the American consumer society provides the model to which ordinary citizens in every corner of the global aspire. In America itself, the average couple owns twice as many cars, covers 25 times as much distance by air, and 21 times as much plastic as their parents did in 1950. Today, the consumer society can be summed up by “ shopping-mall mania” and “fast-food frenzy”. About 60 % of food Americans eat is bought ready-made in supermarkets, at takeaway outlets or in restaurants.

Japan, Western Europe and Australasia are not far behind. In the past 50 years the British, French and West Germans have tripled the amount of paper per person they counsume. In the eighties the amount of processed and package food eaten per individual doubled, while consumption of soft drinks per person shot up by 30 % between 1985 and 1990.

Now, perhaps more than ever before, we are wondering what life is all about, what it’s for. We are searching for meaning and balance. Many are turning to alternative ways of living and downshifting is one of them. Indeed, in Western societies downshifting is one of the fastest-developing social trends of the late nineties, as more of us yearn for simpler, more fulfilling lives and the time to enjoy the good things in life. In the United States, the word downshifting is already common parlance.

What meaning does downshifting hold in nineties Britain? Are we turning to it for the same reasons as in America? Ian Christie, an associate director at the Henley Center for Forecasting, defines it as follows: “ It’s taking a deliberate decision to opt out of the culture of consumerism and the career rat race. It’s about cutting back on purchasing, reducing working hours, and perhaps bailing out of conventional work in search of greater quality of life and control over one’s work”.

Professor Ray Pahl, one of Britain’s foremost sociologists, has been studying our work practices, our attitudes to work and its role in our lives for the past three decades. He sums up the key elements of downshifting in these terms: “Conventionally, it is a conscious attempt to live at a quieter pace in order to spend more time away from employment. On the one hand, it is a response to greedy and thoughtless institutions, and one the other a pull to a more attractive activity than simply maintaining one’s identity at the world of work”.


T E X T 3



On my travels across America, I saw more and more of these mobile homes, pulled specially designed trucks. Than I began to be aware of the parks where they sit down.. In Main I took to stopping the night in these parks, talking to the dwellers in this new kind of housing, for they gather in groups of like to like.

They are wonderfully built homes, sometimes as much as forty feet long, with two to five rooms, and are complete with air conditioners, dishwashers, refrigerators, toilets, baths and invariably television. The fact that these homes can be moved does not mean that they do move. Sometimes their owners stay for years in one place.

The school buses pick the children up right at the park and bring them back. The family car takes the head of the house to work and the family to a drive-in movie at night. It’s healthy life out in it country air. Nowhere else could they afford to rent such a comfortable ground-floor apartment; nowhere else could the kids have a dog.

I’ve never had a better or a more comfortable dinner than one of the dinners that I shared in a mobile home. The husband worked as a garage mechanic about four miles away. I said: “One of our most treasured feelings concerns roots, growing up rooted in some soil or some community”. How did they feel about raising their children without roots? Was it good or bad? Would they miss it or not?

The father answer me. “How many people today have what you are talking about? What roots are there in an apartment twelve floors up? What roots are in a housing development of hundreds and thousand of small dwelling almost exactly alike? My father came from Italy”, he said. “He grew up in Tuscany in a house where his family had lived maybe a thousand years. That’s roots for you. No running water, no toilet, and they cooked with charcoal or vine clippings. They had just two rooms, a kitchen and a bedroom, where everybody slept, grandpa, father, and all the kids. No place to read, no place to be alone, and never had had. Was that better? I bet if you gave my old man the choice he’d cut his roots and live like this”. He waved his hands at the comfortable room. “Fact is, he cut his roots away and came to America. Then he lived in a tenement in New-York – just one room, cold water and no heat. Now you take my wife. She’s Irish descent. Her people had rots too.”

“In a peat bog”, the wife said. “And lived on potatoes.”

(John Steinbeck)

T E X T 4



Four days later, in the late afternoon, Napoleon ordered all the animals to assemble in the yard. When they had all gathered together, Napoleon emerged from the farmhouse, wearing both his medals (for he had recently awarded himself “Animal Hero, First Class” and “Animal Hero, Second Class”) with his nine huge dogs frisking round him and uttering growls that sent shivers down all the animals’ spines. They all cowered silently their places, seeming to know in advance that some terrible thing was about to happen.

Napoleon stood sternly surveying his audience: then he uttered a high-pitched whimper. Immediately the dogs bounded forward, seized four of the pigs by the ear and dragged them, squealing with pain and terror, to Napoleon’s feet. The pigs’ ears were bleeding. The dogs had tasted blood, and for a few moments they appeared to go quite mad. To the amazement of everybody, three of them flung themselves upon Boxer. Boxer saw them coming and put out his great hoof, caught a dog in mid-air, and pinned him to the ground. The dog shrieked for mercy and the other two fled with their tails between their legs. Boxer looked at Napoleon to know whether he should crush the dog to death or let it go. Napoleon appeared to change countenance, and sharply ordered Boxer to let the dog go, whereat Boxer lifted his hoof, and the dog slunk away, bruised and howling.

Presently the tumult died down. The four pigs waited, trembling, with guilt written on every line of their countenances. Napoleon now called upon them to confess their crimes. They were the same four pigs as had protested when Napoleon abolished the Sunday Meetings. Without any further prompting they confessed that had been secretly in touch with Snowball ever since his expulsion, that they had collaborated with him in destroying the windmill, and that they had entered into an agreement with him to hand over Animal Farm to Mr. Frederick. They added that Snowball had privately admitted to them that he had been Jones’s secret agent for years past. When they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore their throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demanded whether any other animal had anything to confess.

The tree hens had been the ringleaders in the attempted rebellion over the eggs now came forward and stated that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon’s orders. They too, were slaughtered. Then a goose came forward and confessed to having secreted six ears of corn during the last year’s harvest and eaten them in the night. Then a sheep confessed to having urinated in the drinking pool – urged to do this, so she said, by Snowball – and two other sheep confessed to having murdered an old ram, an especially devoted follower of Napoleon, by chasing him round and round a bonfire when he was suffering from a cough. They were all slain on the spot. And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon’s feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of Jones.


Vocabulary: assemble: gather; emerge: appear; frisking: running and jumping; growl: deep, angry sound; spine: backbone; survey: lock around bounded: ran quickly; flung: threw; pinned: held down tightly; shrieked: shouted in a loud, high voice; mercy: kindness, pity; crush: break by pressing hard; countenance: face; slunk (from slink): move quietly and secretly; bruised: with wounds on their skin; abolish: end rid of; slaughtered: killed.

(From ANIMAL FARM. George Orwell)




T E X T 1


Because completely unrestricted freedom of action would make peaceful human existence impossible, some restraints on freedom of action are necessary and inevitable. Virtually all codes of action recognize that basic limitation . Liberty is in such codes as the right of individuals to act without restraint as long as actions do not interfere with the equivalent right of others; acts that do violate the right of other are rejected as license.

The nature and extent of the restraints to be imposed and the selection of the means of enforcing them have been important problems for philosophers and lawmakers throughout history. Almost all the solutions finally arrived at have recognized the fundamental need for a government, meaning an individual or group of individuals empowered to compose and enforce whatever restraints are deemed necessary. In modern times, great emphasis has also been placed on the need for laws to define the nature and extent of these restraints. The philosophy of anarchism is an exception; it objects to all governments as evil themselves and substitutes an idealized society in which social restraint is achieved through individual observance of high ethical principles.

A perfect balance between the right of an individual to act without undue interference and the need of the community to restrain freedom of action has often been projected in theory but has never been achieved. The restraints imposed throughout most of history have been oppressive. History has been described as society’s progress from a state of anarchy, through periods of liberty for every individual under democratic governments; history has thus been shaped by the natural desire of all people to be free.


T E X T 2


In antiquity, liberty meant national freedom; slavery was considered a necessary institution of society. Liberty in medieval tomes related primarily to social groups seeking to wrest certain privileges from the sovereigns against whom they contended for power. This kind of struggle resulted in the Magna Carta. Imposed in the 13th century on John, kind of England, by a group of barons; the document has great significance in the progress of human liberty. As the Middle Ages came to an end, the Renaissance raised problems of intellectual freedom, challenging the established dogma of the Catholic church; later still the reformation further promoted ideas of religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

There great revolutions helped to define individual liberty and ensure its preservation. In 17th-century England, the Glorious Revolution was the culmination of several hundred years of gradual imposition of judicial and legislative restraints upon the monarchy. The Bill of Rights, adopted by the English Parliament in 1689, established representative government in England.

The American Revolution of 1776 joined the problems of achieving individual liberty with those of creating a new state. The Declaration of independence issued by the American revolutionists reflected centuries of freedom in England. The second great charter of liberty to issue from the American Revolution was the U.S. Constitution. In its first ten amendments, know as the Bill of rights, the Constitution established guarantees of civil rights.

The French Revolution of 1789 destroyed the feudal system in France and established reprehensive government. In the Enlightenment, the body of thought that molded the thinking of the leaders of the French Revolution, liberty was defined as a natural right of man, a right to act without interference from any source but nevertheless requiring voluntary submission to necessary limitation in order that the benefits of organized social existence might be enjoyed. Challenging the theory of the right of kings to rule new theory held that the source of all govemental power was the people, and that tyranny began when the natural right of men were violated. From the French Revolution came the Declaration of the Right of Man and of Citizen, which served as a model for most of the declarations of liberty adopted by European states in the 19th century.


T E X T 3


It all started just before Christmas when an armed police officer barred my spouse, a 40-year-old sociology professor, from leaving the Regal Elmwood Theater. If she wanted to continue walking the 10 yards to the exit door, the officer informed her, she would have to pull down her hood until she was outside. Or she could be arrested. Of course the pulling down the hood part goes against everything our mothers taught us about winter attire - that we put on our mittens and hoods before we go out into the cold. But the man giving the order had a gun and represented the power of the state.

While the Regai's apparent dress code might not seem like a big deal, it is. Random intrusions of authority imposing arbitrary laws upon us is the essence of a police state.

Of course the whole policy smacks of racism. The good ol’boys at Regal entertainment can't quite bar black youth from their theaters, so they do the next best things, and ban attire common to black youth - and enforce the policy exclusively at the only local Regal patronized by black youth.

But hoodophobia isn't just a Regal phenomenon. I was recently contacted by a black college student who was barred from Tops Supermarkets after an off-duty police officer ordered him to remove his hood.

As it turns out this weirdness isn't confined to Tops and Regal. Last Sunday, the Buffalo News' Lou Michel, a reporter not formerly known as a moron, wrote a story that ran under the headline, "Citizen's Learn Tips to Spot Terrorists". Above the headline was a photo of a group of Buffalo auxiliary police officers learning to spot terrorists. Michel, demonstrating no more critical thinking skills than an army ant, unquestionably echoes the anti-terrorism "expert" in explaining that "it's the little things that count in determining if someone is up to no good". He goes on to list three bullet points for spotting terrorists. They'll buy "bulk amounts of fertilizer", they'll take photos of "buildings and locations in the area" and they'll wear "oversized coats and hooded sweatshirts on warm days".

Whether this is a story about racism or one about just plain stupidity, one thing is certain: It is a story about an emerging police state where rules are arbitrarily formed and enforced just for the sake of exercising authority and control over a subdued population. There truly are fashion police in this brave new world.

T E X T 4



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