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Consumption, lifestyle, and middle class identity : a case study in a gated community in Shanghai

Authors Jiang, Ying
Issue Date 2008
Summary This study explores how class, location (space) and consumption interact in the making of a middle class identity in a gated community in Shanghai. It argues that the middle class homeowner’s class identity is created and reinforced through three levels of identification. Firstly, the symbolic meaning of a middle-class way of life is embedded in the social space of the gated community that creates a privileged lifestyle there. Secondly, the homeowners’ class identity is reinforced and expressed through similar modes of consumption and lifestyle in their everyday life. Thirdly, based on living in the same residential area and similar consumption patterns and lifestyles, the middle class group identity is formed and enhanced through community interaction and participation. Their class identity has become the basis for social networking and collective claims within the gated community. In the process, their class identity is further reinforced through a sense of distinction vis-à-vis the working-class migrant workers who live in the same community as group tenants. Although the middle class homeowners can be considered a unified social group within the gated community, their identity is not homogeneous. Social origins and personal life experiences also affect the middle class identity.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2008
Language English
Format Thesis
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