Key Points

  • ‘Social class’ derives from systems of economy and industrial production, but as well as ‘structure’; it has important and independent effects relating to ‘consciousness’ and social and political ‘action’ which are framed by cultural experiences.
  • ‘Social mobility’ is about the ease or difficulty people have in moving up (and down) the social ladder, particularly across generations.
  • Both with regard to social class structures and patterns of social mobility, the similarities between Scotland and England are greater than the differences between them.
  • Nevertheless, how people relate to social class and to social mobility, what sense they make of these, relates to cultural and historic understandings. Such understandings in Scotland are different from those in England.
  • These differences are reflected in how people self-describe their social class, and relates in particular to how they do their politics.