Moving on up: Symbolic boundary creation and upward mobility amongst middle and professional classes in the global South

Thematic Session at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association

Place: Montréal, Canada

Date: August 12-15, 2017

Session Organizers: Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen (NYU Abu Dhabi), Jules Naudet (Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi)

Over the last three decades, global inequality has become increasingly characterized by within-country rather than between-country income inequality (Firebaugh 2003). And while there is contestation over the role globalization plays in this process (Giddens 1999), the diffusion of neoliberalism has undoubtedly shaped the way in which mobility is experienced and symbolic boundaries are traced across the world. This panel seeks to critically examine the contemporary reconfiguration of this stratification amongst upper-middle, middle and professional classes in global South sites where these processes are particularly rampant. It comprises papers that decode the ways in which established social structures and traditional hierarchies in these countries are being renegotiated through social, cultural and economic processes. Continue reading “Moving on up: Symbolic boundary creation and upward mobility amongst middle and professional classes in the global South”

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Cruel hope: Hanging on to the promise of the good life in Cairo

By HARRY PETTIT

I wish to consider a middle-class life as a kind of hopeful attachment to the future. Much existing research on the middle-class looks at the forms of employment, consumption, education, sociality, and politics that define and enact middle class-ness in the present. However, a middle-class life – and life in capitalism in general – is an intrinsically future-orientated project, in which a sense that there is “more to life than what exists for us in the here and now” is an inherent component (Jackson, 2011, xi). There is always something more to be done, getting a better job, buying a house, or securing a good education for one’s children. Continue reading “Cruel hope: Hanging on to the promise of the good life in Cairo”