Is there an underclass in Britain?

Buckingham, Alan (1999) Is there an underclass in Britain? British Journal of Sociology, 50 (1). 49 - 75. ISSN 1468-4446

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Abstract

This paper sets out to define the underclass and then test the predictions of three competing theories in the underclass debate. Using the National Child Development Study for the analysis it is found that an ‘underclass’ suffering from a lack of qualifications, low cognitive ability and chronic joblessness exists. The validity of making a distinction between the working class and an ‘underclass’ has often been questioned both because of the dubious history of such a distinction and because it is not believed that such a distinction is empirically true. The results in this paper contradict this assertion by finding the underclass to be distinctive from the working class in terms of patterns of family formation, work commitment and political allegiance. The distinct attitudes of the underclass, when coupled with evidence of inter- and intra-generational stability of membership, provide early evidence that a new social class, the underclass, may now exist in Britain.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Underclass; social class; deserving and undeserving; attitudes; behaviour; National Child Development Study
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:45
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2012 23:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27871
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