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Hybridization and Purification

The Experiences of Mizrachi Middle-Class Adolescents in Israel

Guy Abutbul Selinger

In contrast to the view, expressed widely in public and in academic discourses, that ethnic categories are no longer significant in explaining Israeli social processes and that ethnic relations have become less hierarchical, this study demonstrates the continuing importance of ethnicity and hierarchical relations in Israeli society. Their importance is reflected in the social processes undergone by middle-class Mizrachi adolescents. Mizrachi families endow their adolescents with family capital—that is, social and cultural patterns—similar to that of middle-class Ashkenazi families. However, because these social and cultural patterns are identified as Ashkenazi, public discourses and practices signify for Mizrachi adolescents their ethnic identity and thus restore the blurred ethnic boundary. This signification is done through mechanisms of 'hybridization' and 'purification', as discussed in the article. These cultural mechanisms maintain the hierarchical relations between Mizrachi and Ashkenazi Jews within Israel's middle class.

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Gendered Experiences of Mobility

Travel Behavior of Middle-class Women in Dhaka City

Shahnaz Huq-Hussain and Umme Habiba

This article examines the travel behavior of middle-class women in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh and one of the world's largest and most densely populated cities. In particular, we focus on women's use of non-motorized rickshaws to understand the constraints on mobility for women in Dhaka. Primary research, in the form of an empirical study that surveyed women in six neighborhoods of Dhaka, underpins our findings. Our quantitative and qualitative data presents a detailed picture of women's mobility through the city. We argue that although over 75 percent of women surveyed chose the rickshaw as their main vehicle for travel, they did so within a complex framework of limited transport options. Women's mobility patterns have been further complicated by government action to decrease congestion by banning rickshaws from major roads in the city. Our article highlights the constraints on mobility that middle-class women in Dhaka face including inadequate services, poorly maintained roads, adverse weather conditions, safety and security issues, and the difficulty of confronting traditional views of women in public arenas.

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The 1956 Strike of Middle-Class Professionals

A Socio-political Alliance with the Right

Avi Bareli and Uri Cohen

This article assumes, first, that during the 1950s the government, the trade union Histadrut, and the political party Mapai situated themselves in an intermediate position between the Ashkenazi public and the recently arrived Mizrahi immigrants. Second, it assumes that the right and center-right public forces, such as the General Zionist and Herut parties, and the influential liberal-oriented newspaper Ha’aretz played key roles in the evolution of ethnic relations during this period and impacted the political orientation of the Ashkenazi middle class. It examines these assumptions by considering the part played by the right, the center-right, and the Mapai government during a prolonged conflict between the Ashkenazi academic middle class and the government during the mid- 1950s. This dispute centered on the appropriate extent of the wage gaps set between the salaries of the new Ashkenazi academic middle class and those of the new Mizrahi proletariat.

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Arnaldo Bagnasco

In 2004, the beginning of the political year was marked by an intense

focus on the middle class. Even earlier, during the closing months

of the previous year, the public had been alerted to the middle class

as an issue by virtue of journalistic investigations documenting the

malaise of social groups, which, all things considered, had been supposed

to be in good or passable health up to that point. There was

talk of poverty among vulnerable sections of the population, but not

yet of the impoverishment of the middle classes. Whether or not the

middle class was indeed becoming poorer then became the main focus

of the discussion. In this chapter we shall try to see how the question

emerged, how far it corresponds with the facts, and, finally, its significance

for Italian politics. With this in mind, we shall be asking, in particular,

whether in future the crisis of the middle class is destined to be

an important topic and recognized as such in the political arena.

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‘The Good Citizen’

Balancing Moral Possibilities in Everyday Life between Sensation, Symptom and Healthcare Seeking

Sara Marie Hebsgaard Offersen, Peter Vedsted and Rikke Sand Andersen

This article explores how healthcare-seeking practices and the transformation of bodily sensations into symptoms are embedded in what we term a ‘moral sensescape’ of ev- eryday life. Based on fieldwork in a suburban middle-class neighbourhood in Denmark, we discuss how a moral relation between the Danish welfare state and the middle-class popula- tion is embodied in a responsibility for individual health. Overall, we identify a striving to be a ‘good citizen’; this entails conflicting moral possibilities in relation to experiencing, inter- preting and acting on bodily sensations. We examine how people meet the conflicting moral possibilities of complying with current public health rhetoric on proper healthcare seeking, including timely presentation of symptoms, and simultaneously try to avoid misusing the healthcare system and be characterised as overly worried or even as a hypochondriac; this challenge constitutes complex navigational routes through the moral sensescape of the Danish middle class.

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Craig Horner

Automobility in the United Kingdom in the period before the First World War moved from irrelevance and ridicule to a normalized leisure activity. With particular reference to the magazines Punch and Motor, this article argues that this process was hastened by middle- and lower-middle-class consumers' receptivity to the automobile and motorcycle, particularly in the period after 1905 when a tolerable mechanical reliability had been achieved. By buying second-hand, and taking short trips and camping weekends, the self-driving, car-owning “modest motorist“ undermined the formal, club-based network of elite motorists and created their own distinct cultural model.

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Ze'ev Shavit

The article investigates the symbolic construction of the Galilee as a rural place, as portrayed by the websites of leisure resorts seeking urban middle-class customers. The article argues that the Galilee is constructed as a symbolic, post-rural place by them, and that this process expresses a change in the construction of rural place and place in general as well as collective identity in Jewish Israeli society. Data was obtained from marketing websites of 50 leisure resorts in the Galilee. Findings indicate that the post-rural Galilee is composed mainly of four symbolic universes: rural style and atmosphere, agriculture and country gourmet, the experience of nature, and authenticity of place. This construction of rural place represents the voice of the urban middle class in the dynamics of place and collective identity in Jewish Israeli society.

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Balancing the Here and There

Transnational Mobilities of Moroccan Middle-class Professionals in Istanbul

Christian Ritter

This article explores the ways Moroccan middle-class professionals residing in Istanbul have forged transnational connections since the 2006 free trade agreement between Turkey and Morocco. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article finds that research participants embrace three interdependent mobilities – imaginative, corporeal and virtual. First, Moroccan television viewers imaginatively internalise images of Turkish society through Turkish programmes broadcast in Morocco. Then, Moroccan nationals engage in physical travel to Turkey, initially as tourists, but later also as job seekers. Finally, Moroccan residents of Istanbul travel virtually to keep in touch with friends and family through media such as online platforms and instant messaging applications. In this article I argue that users of virtual environments have developed into new transnational brokers, facilitating the spatial extension of border-crossing networks.

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From the 'Unseen' to the Visible

Transformations in Women's Kinship Practices among the Urban Middle Class in Fes, Morocco

Rachel Newcomb

For the middle class of Fes, Morocco, the traditional resources provided by kinship practices remain an important form of economic and social support in an increasingly globalised world. Women's significance in kinship networks not only highlights women's changing role in the Moroccan public sphere, but also indicates the flexibility of kinship principles once applied primarily to men. As more women have entered the public sphere for reasons of economics and education, the possibilities for their social networks have widened to include both relatives and non-kin.

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Vincent Lyon-Callo

Corporatisation of universities and restructurings of K-12 schooling in the United States occurred during a period of broad economic, social and political restructurings, which have transformed the lives of middle-class Americans. Community and individual level investments in education are frequently represented as antidotes to increased insecurities confronting these subjects. This paper draws upon my interactions within both the school system and the university in which I work to explore how such practices continue to make sense to students, parents, and policy makers despite the lack of evidence demonstrating that such strategies overcome declining economic security and to suggest possibilities for alternative practices to produce collective mobilisations against inequality.