In the past, the working class was perceived as a cohesive social and political subject, although this was never fully the case, and it is certainly less the case today. Class, in fact, is not just defined by economic attributes, but by social, cultural and social ones. Care, understood either as work or values, is fundamental for better understanding class. The implications of the relationship between care values and class are yet not fully understood. In this paper, building on David Graeber’s intuition regarding the caring classes, we theorise and statistically assess the existence of a working-class care ethos by examining which socio-demographic, occupational groups share care values. Using European Social Survey (ESS) data and ordinal logistic regressions, we test to what extent self-perceptions of care for others are associated with occupational/working profiles and socio-demographic characteristics. We find that caring for others is a value shared, transversally, by an intersection of different individuals who experience a few conditions of subalternity in the context of patriarchal and racial capitalism; a left-wing political orientation and some background of political/union organising; some specific occupational profiles marked by interpersonal interaction and, most significantly, by explicit forms of care work. We conclude by speculating that the concept of caring classes can be a useful one towards a fertile terrain of political struggle.

The caring classes : A socio-demographic and occupational analysis of caring values

Velotti, Lorenzo
;
2023

Abstract

In the past, the working class was perceived as a cohesive social and political subject, although this was never fully the case, and it is certainly less the case today. Class, in fact, is not just defined by economic attributes, but by social, cultural and social ones. Care, understood either as work or values, is fundamental for better understanding class. The implications of the relationship between care values and class are yet not fully understood. In this paper, building on David Graeber’s intuition regarding the caring classes, we theorise and statistically assess the existence of a working-class care ethos by examining which socio-demographic, occupational groups share care values. Using European Social Survey (ESS) data and ordinal logistic regressions, we test to what extent self-perceptions of care for others are associated with occupational/working profiles and socio-demographic characteristics. We find that caring for others is a value shared, transversally, by an intersection of different individuals who experience a few conditions of subalternity in the context of patriarchal and racial capitalism; a left-wing political orientation and some background of political/union organising; some specific occupational profiles marked by interpersonal interaction and, most significantly, by explicit forms of care work. We conclude by speculating that the concept of caring classes can be a useful one towards a fertile terrain of political struggle.
2023
Settore SPS/07 - Sociologia Generale
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
Settore SPS/08 - Sociologia dei Processi Culturali e Comunicativi
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
Settore SPS/11 - Sociologia dei Fenomeni Politici
Settore SPS/10 - Sociologia dell'Ambiente e del Territorio
Settore SPS/12 - Sociologia Giuridica, della Devianza e Mutamento Sociale
care, caring classes, value, class, Graeber
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/135162
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