University of Maryland

U.S. and British Perceptions of Class

Vanneman, Reeve D. 1980. "U.S. and British Perceptions of Class" American Journal of Sociology, 85, 4, January, 769-790.


This research tests one aspect of the widely held belief that Americans are less class conscious than Europeans. Analysis of subjective class placements in the United States and Great Britain indicates that there is virtually no difference in the way social structural position is used to define middle- or working-class placement. The lack of any statistically significant interactions suggests that class is as clearly perceived in the United States as in Great Britain. The conventional wisdom about differences in the class consciousness of the two societies is probably thee result of substantial differences in the class basis of party affiliation and voting. Given the similarities in the perception of class, the political differences would be better explained by structural differences in the party systems than by psychological differences in the voters themsleves.

Last updated September 9, 1999
comments to: Reeve Vanneman.