The racialised ‘second existence’ of class: class identification and (de- / re-) construction across the British South Asian middle classes

Article


Saini, R. 2023. The racialised ‘second existence’ of class: class identification and (de- / re-) construction across the British South Asian middle classes. Cultural Sociology. 17 (2), pp. 277-296. https://doi.org/10.1177/17499755221076388
TypeArticle
TitleThe racialised ‘second existence’ of class: class identification and (de- / re-) construction across the British South Asian middle classes
AuthorsSaini, R.
Abstract

This paper maps typologies of class identity for the UK-born South Asian middle classes. Using thematic analysis of interviews with twenty British South Asian professionals, it identifies culturally and socially situated forms of class (dis-)identification. It finds that ‘middle-class’ identity is not uncritically adopted or internalised by socially mobile British South Asians who, on the bases of objective socioeconomic markers, may be classified as such. Beyond existing research which has long established the dual material and symbolic nature of class, and the corresponding ‘fuzziness’ of class subjectivity, for the population of interest this can be attributed in large part to: (i) the rapid upward intergenerational social mobility of South Asian groups which is seen to defy British-specific forms of stratification and class reproduction and (ii) the racialisation of class where the symbolic power and subjective salience of middle-classness is mediated through Whiteness. In establishing this, this paper argues for further theoretical and analytical reflection on the racialisation of class taking into account the ethnoracial specificities of culturally diverse ethnic minority populations.

KeywordsBritish South Asian; class identity; middle class; racialisation; social class; Whiteness
PublisherSAGE Publications
JournalCultural Sociology
ISSN1749-9755
Electronic1749-9763
Publication dates
Online31 May 2022
PrintJun 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited31 Jan 2022
Accepted09 Jan 2022
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
Copyright Statement

© The Author(s) 2022.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage)

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/17499755221076388
Web of Science identifierWOS:000806327800001
LanguageEnglish
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