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Trabajo y sociedad

On-line version ISSN 1514-6871

Abstract

JIMENEZ ZUNINO, Cecilia. Impoverishment or drop in status? The symbolic dimension of social inequality. Trab. soc. [online]. 2011, n.17, pp. 49-65. ISSN 1514-6871.

The complex dynamics in which contemporary society stratification processes - generalized expansion of consumption levels, change in production activities (from manual to non-manual) - are inserted force the redefinition of social mobility classical studies. Lifestyles, consumption patterns, spatial segmentation, education strategies, etc. are to be interleaved with the occupational structure, a determining variable in the social stratification studies. This article is intended to examine the downward social mobility processes, such as drop in status, differentiating it from impoverishment. Therefore, the analytical couplet social status and condition (Bourdieu, Cachón, etc.) are used, since it can shed light on the different modalities that social downwarding can adopt in different sectors of the middle classes. The rupture from the tendency to the "vague expansion of middle classes" (Tezanos), accentuated by the social dualization processes, stamps on the social class structure a grey zone (Parkin) between middle and lower classes, largely depending on the social trajectory of origin. Strategies applied by agents to reproduce and improve their social status were studied: they restructure ressources (mainly, economic and cultural); they move geographically; they change their lifestyle; etc. In order to understand the new dynamics and concepts in the social structure, the paradigmatic case of Argentinean middle classes is examined in this article.

Keywords : Drop in status; Argentinean middle classes; Social mobility; Social status/condition.

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