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Open Access Verwarring over het midden1

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Abstract

In 2017, the WRR (The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy) published the report De val van de middenklasse? Het stabiele en kwetsbare midden (The fall of the middle class? The stable and vulnerable middle), edited by Godfried Engbersen, Erik Snel en Monique Kremer. The report investigates changes in the social position of ‘the middle classes’ in the Netherlands between 1980 and 2010. The report gives a broad and dynamic portrait of ‘the middle classes’, using different perspectives.

In this essay, the author reflects on some of its key findings. A remaining issue is: who belongs to the middle classes? Seen from the perspective of income, occupation and education, the composition of the middle classes appears to change, while people participating in focus groups all define themselves as belonging to the middle classes. One would expect that the authors give much attention to the difficulties of defining the ‘middle classes’, but that is not the case. What does that say about the social stratification in the Netherlands in the 21st century?

Furthermore, the report demonstrates that Dutch society has become a middle-class society, which in the 21st century has to deal with growing insecurity on the labor market and an increasingly restrictive welfare state. In her essay, the author asks why a report on the position of the middle class does not consider the international context, given that social changes and the position of the middle class are the result of increasing interdependencies on a global scale.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Rineke van Daalen is socioloog. Zij werkte tot haar pensioen bij de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Haar laatste boeken gaan over het vmbo (Het vmbo als stigma, 2010) en over het werk dat mensen met een afgeronde mbo-opleiding gaan doen (Gewoon werk, 2014). Ze heeft een (rinekevandaalen.nl) waarop ze verslag doet van onderzoek op verschillende gebieden en waarop ze boeken bespreekt., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 31, 2017

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  • Sociologie publiceert over actuele maatschappelijke vraagstukken en sociologisch-theoretische onderwerpen. De artikelen en essays zijn interessant voor een breed, interdisciplinair publiek. Naast onderzoeksartikelen, onderzoeksnotities en boekbesprekingen biedt Sociologie met de rubrieken Debat en Inspiratie een podium voor gedachtewisseling en sociologische verbeelding. Sociologie is het resultaat van het samengaan van de gerenommeerde tijdschriften Sociologische Gids en Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift en bestrijkt een breed terrein van de sociologiebeoefening in Nederland.

    Sociology (Sociologie) publishes articles on current social issues and sociological-theoretical subjects. The articles and essays are interesting for a wide interdisciplinary audience. In addition to research articles, research notes and book reviews Sociology provides a platform for exchange of views with the sections Debate and Inspiration. Sociology is the result of the merging of the prestigious journals Sociologische Gids and Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift and covers a wide field of sociology in the Netherlands.

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