Chapter VI: The Upper Class
What I want to know is; what is actually wrong with an elite, for God’s sake?
Charles, Prince of Wales
Looking for the middle class, we should not lose track of a related category, that is, the upper class, which is an immanent part of the hierarchical division into the upper, middle and lower class. In Anglo-American culture, the division has become the basic framework for organising the social hierarchy. In Western countries, the terms “upper,” “middle” and “lower” have been commonly used in colloquial language for a few hundred years now, and the social sciences made them part of coherent theories corroborated by empirical research.
The distinction into “upper,” “middle” and “lower” classes was systematically investigated by William Lloyd Warner, a prominent socio-anthropologist who initiated comprehensive research on American local communities. Starting their empirical project in the 1930s, W.L. Warner and his team produced a series of monograph studies, deemed (at that time) milestones of empirical sociology. The eponymous Yankee City and Jonesville, which appeared in the best know of these publications, are aliases of small towns in New England and the Mid-West, where the surveys were conducted, probing into practically all aspects of life, with a focus on paid labour, material living conditions, social relationships and everyday routines of the inhabitants.
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