Residential differentiation and identity of the service classes

Chris Hiscock and Keith Hoggart, King's College London

[Project number 10345]

In general terms the study will form part of a PhD research project. The subject of this project is residential differentiation and identity of the service classes in different geographical settings. This topic was chosen as a response to the lack of empirical analyses that explicitly provide comparisons of urban and rural settings within research literature. The project has been conceived with help from Professor Keith Hoggart (Dept of Geography, King's College London) and is related to a number of studies conducted by Professor Hoggart using the ONS Longitudinal Study.

The aims of the study are to use the LS to explore social class change and migration history, in the context of movements between (and stays within) different types of rural, suburban and inner-city area. Owing to the capacity of the LS to provide information at a personal and household level, this analysis will explore ethnic, gender, familial and age related dimensions of service class migration patterns. This will be especially important for providing a general picture of differences between service class members living in different environments. This will be followed by in-depth interviews with service class members in three locations: one rural, one suburban and one inner-city. The aim of the interviews is to examine rationale for migration history, the meanings of residential locations in self-identity and beliefs about how residential locations offer specific advantages to particular households. It will also explore whether household members have engaged in political action to bring about positive change or to defend their neighbourhood. The selection of areas to be studied will be made after main trends have been identified in the analysis of the LS. Sites will be selected in the context of similar socio-economic compositions within the same region, probably the south west.