-is a term used in academic sociology and in ordinary conversation.
In common with other terms relevant to social class, it is defined and used in many different ways, depending on context and speaker. The term incorporates references to education, to occupation, to culture, and to income. When used non-academically, it typically refers to a section of society dependent on physical labor, especially when remunerated with an hourly wage.
Casual and geographical usage differs widely; in extreme cases, well-paid university-educated professionals in the United Kingdom may self-identify as working class based on family background, while many semi-skilled and skilled laborers in the United States are characterized as middle-class. It is usually contrasted with the upper class and middle class in terms of access to economic resources, education and cultural interests. Its usage as a description can be pejorative, but many people self-identify as working class and experience a sense of pride analogous to a national identity. Working classes are mainly found in industrialized economies and in urban areas of non-industrialized economies.
The variation between different socio-political definitions makes the term controversial in social usage, and its use in academic discourse as a concept, and as a subject of study itself, is very contentious, especially following the decline of manual labor in postindustrial societies. Some academics (sociologists, historians, political theorists, etc.) question the usefulness of the concept of a working class, while others use some version of the concept.
The middle class
- in colloquial usage, consists of those people who have a degree of economic independence, but not a great deal of social influence or power. The term often encompasses merchants and professionals, bureaucrats, and some farmers and skilled workers.
Social hierarchies, and their definitions, vary. There are many factors that can define the middle class of a society, such as money, behavior and heredity. In some countries, it is predominantly money that determines an individual's position in the social hierarchy. In others, other social factors may have as strong an influence. Such factors include education, professional or employment status, home ownership, or culture.
- is a concept in sociology that refers to the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class often have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.
The phrase "upper class" has had a complex range of meanings and usages. In many traditional societies, membership of the upper class was hard or even impossible to acquire by any means other than being born into it. Despite this chance of upward mobility, the upper class is, according to many sociologists, unattainable to those not born into upper-class families.
Or none of the above?
I've always thought I was kind of lower Middle-class but I'm not so sure.