Thursday, March 05, 2009

Class system inertial

Not just in the sense of people who are born to a certain class tending to stay within that class but also in the sense of what familiarity brings to the picture. For people who are working class, the working class world offers a lot of security. People know how to get jobs in it, they know how to maneauver and to plot their courses. Once you venture outside of the comfort zone things get much more shaky and vulnerable, such that the sureties of life are no longer there and failure may mean being forcibly being put back into the working class itself, thereby wasting time, money, and people's hopes in you. But the navigation of this space, the space between the bourgeois world and that of the working class, isn't shaky for everyone. No, for people who are born into it this world is just as stable as the working class world is: it provides predictable job prospects, predictable life paths, careers, such that if you do x, y is likely to happen. It's only the in between space that proves to be vulnerable to people. Bourgeois people, though, have the great advantage over working class people in that their corresponding in between space, that between the bourgeois world and the true upper class, doesn't have the threat of impoverishment attached to failure.

But workers are at the mercy of the bourgeois world for any mobility. There could be an effort to truly bridge this divide of 'cultural capital', with the bourgeois class welcoming in workers who were talented and interested in getting better jobs, but that isn't the reality of the situation. Instead, the bourgeois world presents itself as as insular and guarded as any other community, with no equality being shown to candidates for a job one of whom comes from a working class background and the other of whom comes from a bourgeois one. The worker has to prove himself in order to be let in to the pearly gates of the bourgeois class, because he or she is an unknown quantity, potentially one of 'them', while grand fuckups from the bourgeois world are retained and given advantages in situations that would get a worker permanently shit canned and sent back to the lower income brackets. The gate keepers are insular pigs. Maybe that's going a little bit too far, but what right do they have to play with other people's lives like they do?

1 comment:

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