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Volume 55 Issue 4
May 2023
Article Contents

Citation: Wei CHEN and Xiaogang WU. Social Structure and Subjective Class Identification[J]. Academic Monthly, 2023, 55(4): 127-139. shu

Social Structure and Subjective Class Identification

  • Previous studies of subjective class identification tended to focus on micro-level individual factors and largely ignored perceived macro social structure. The authors investigate how perceived social structures affect people’s subjective class identification in China. Based on the data from the Shanghai Urban Neighborhood Survey (SUNS) and a survey experiment design, in which respondents were randomly presented the shape of social structures and then asked to identify their subjective class. Results show that, the perceived unequal and polarized pyramid-shaped social structure and inverted T-shaped social structure tend to lower respondents class identification, whereas to the ladder-shaped social structure. These findings suggest that people tend to identify themselves as lower social classes if they perceived social structure as being more unequal. Perceived social structure affect peoples own class identification, and the perceived more unequal social structure information lowers people’s subjective social status.
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          Social Structure and Subjective Class Identification

          Abstract: Previous studies of subjective class identification tended to focus on micro-level individual factors and largely ignored perceived macro social structure. The authors investigate how perceived social structures affect people’s subjective class identification in China. Based on the data from the Shanghai Urban Neighborhood Survey (SUNS) and a survey experiment design, in which respondents were randomly presented the shape of social structures and then asked to identify their subjective class. Results show that, the perceived unequal and polarized pyramid-shaped social structure and inverted T-shaped social structure tend to lower respondents class identification, whereas to the ladder-shaped social structure. These findings suggest that people tend to identify themselves as lower social classes if they perceived social structure as being more unequal. Perceived social structure affect peoples own class identification, and the perceived more unequal social structure information lowers people’s subjective social status.

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