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Social Inequality and Difference Emma Rudd

2C The Underclass

The underclass is a way of describing a group, which occupies a low position in the social
structure and possibly has different cultural values from the rest of the population. It is normally
defined by its economic, social and cultural features.…

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Social Inequality and Difference Emma Rudd

This version argues that the underclass are poor because they hold certain immoral or inferior
values (e.g. laziness & lack of responsibility) which do not equip them for success in a
competitive society. In many ways this is a revival of the `Culture of…

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Social Inequality and Difference Emma Rudd

He dismisses other alleged cultural features of the underclass. For example lone
parenthood is spread across society rather than being concentrated among the
As for crime Westergaard regards it as the effect of poverty and structural strain,
rather than a cultural value.


Page 4

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Social Inequality and Difference Emma Rudd

They argued that the material disadvantage of Britain's racial and ethnic minorities
were so severe that they could be regarded as cut of from and beneath the white
working class.
Restricted to the most menial and precarious jobs, and victimised by racism, ethnic

Page 5

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Social Inequality and Difference Emma Rudd

For the most part they lived a marginalised existence of boredom and frustration,
spending hours sitting watching TV, or hanging out together doing nothing. Every so
often their routine would be interrupted by waves of enthusiasm (e.g. at the prospect
of getting a flat)…

Page 6

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Social Inequality and Difference Emma Rudd

The economic position of most minorities has been improving both in absolute terms (e.g.
rising incomes, higher employment rates and better jobs) and in relative terms (i.e. the
gap between whites and minorities is closing).
If Britain has an under class, ethnic minorities form…


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