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Different facets of new middle classness: a case study in the city of Ankara

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2009
Karademir, Irmak
The aim of this study is to understand the class character of the new middle class,that is defined as white-collar workers through the bulk of the class literature. To achieve this aim, two sets of research questions, operating both on the objective and subjective levels, have been developed. The first set of questions are; “What are the objective conditions (such as economic capital, cultural capital,gender/age composition and class background) of the people who belong to the new middle class defined as white-collars according to structural definitions in Ankara? How are those conditions differentiated within this new middle class category?” Those questions are tried to be answered by conducting a secondary analysis to an already existing three-generational representative database for Ankara By taking the quantitative analysis as a base, second set of questions that aim to scrutinize how this heterogeneity in terms of economic/cultural capital and class background are reflected on the subjective level, has been developed. Therefore interviews are held with 31 people in Ayrancı neighborhood so as to answer to the following questions: “How people who belong to the new middle class, defined as white-collars according to structural definitions, experience their class position? and what elements, in what ways affect their class experience/class practices?” In the light of the interviews that question the “social space of lifestyle” –composed of daily life practices- and “social relations” –analyzed by the content and nature of the drawn symbolic boundaries- four new middle class milieus –which are highly dispersed among the habitus map of Bourdieu- are identified. The overall study highlights how it is problematic to attribute certain values, lifestyles and attitudes, which are the molders of the class experience, to the whole new middle class category that is defined within the occupational structure.