Intimate and Family Practices and Social Inequalities
Recently, Goldthorpe has written of: ”…the inherent ‘stickiness’ between the class positions of parents and their children…” (13.3.16) He goes on to note that these parents are ‘more concerned to avoid downward mobility than they are to achieve upward mobility’. Moreover, these parents have the means to achieve these ends.
Thus Goldthorpe suggests that ‘family practices’ are a key to understanding much about social inequality in the UK and elsewhere. Families, and other intimate relationships, are not, therefore, simply at the receiving end of social inequalities but are actively involved in their reproduction. Here I intend to explore some of the ways in which family practices contribute to maintaining upper class positions within modern British society. These are not confined to inheritance and housing strategies (although these are clearly important) but extend to a whole range of practices involving the deployment of cultural and social capital. Further, this is not confined to families but to wider networks of family and intimate relationships, including friends and acquaintances.
(John Goldthorpe: ‘Decades of investment in education have not improved social mobility’ The Observer 13.03.16)