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‘Middle Classes’: Global and National

Reinhard Kreckel

CONCEPTUAL PRESUPPOSITIONS OF THE TERM ‘MIDDLE CLASS’

‘Middle class’ is abroad and controversial concept. Seen from a theoretical perspective, it must be counted among the ‘essentially contested concepts’ of social theory (Lukes 2005). On the other hand, in colloquial language and in standard textbook sociology the meaning of the term ‘middle class’ appears to be quite straightforward: The ‘middle class’ encompasses all members of society living neither at the ‘top’ nor at the ‘bottom’ of the social hierarchy. According to this conventional view, it is usually assumed that ‘being middle class’ also implies a specific middle class life-style, middle class norms and values and (perhaps) ...

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