The structures, values and influence of the Scottish urban middle class, Glasgow 1800 to 1870

Nenadic, Stana Stella (1986) The structures, values and influence of the Scottish urban middle class, Glasgow 1800 to 1870. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Some of the main areas of change in nineteenth century Britain were seen in developments in social structure and values, the emergence of class and the dynamics of class consciousness. The role and impact of the working class within these social processes has been emphasized, while the analysis of the middle class is still at a relatively early stage. This study seeks to understand the nature of the middle class through a. local case study and from a theoretical perspective that is well suited to such an undertaking. In the past, nineteenth century social structures have tended to be viewed descriptively and non-theoretically, or from a perspective that was heavily influenced by Marx. This work has sought to exploit the most notable post-Marxian model of social development, that of Weber. The Weberian view of class is pluralistic, based on distinctions within classes and a differentiation of factors in the process of class formation. Three elements are observed in the creation of class. The first is the objective market value of the individual; the second is power and relationships with parties and organizations; and the third is status, which is often closely related to economic position. In employing a Weberian approach a sophisticated methodolgy - one of the main contributions of the thesis - has been developed. Two major components of the middle class profile have been identified. These are the physical and objective profile (corresponding broadly with the economic or materialist manifestations of class), and the psychological or subjective profile (corresponding with the status elements of class). Linking or synthesizing the two is the organizational or institutional manifestations of class. This analysis of the multi-dimensional middle class has focused on a single city, Glasgow, during the years 1 800 to 1870. It is a study of the middle classes in the early stages of formation, prior to maturity. Urban centres were the main context in which nineteenth century middle class values and identity were articulated, and Glasgow is a particularly suitable case for close study. The city had a rich and large middle class, established traditions, a varied industrial and commercial profile and a pattern of economic development that reflected many of the significant changes seen within Britain during the period. The economic character of a local area was a major influence on the creation of class structures. So too was the Intellectual environment. The intellectual context of the Glasgow middle class was influenced by an array of distinctive Scottish cultural perceptions based in the church, law and education and especially in the precepts of the Scottish Enlightenment, which had a residual but imprtant influence in the nineteenth century. The main part of the study explores the dynamic evolution of the physical profile of the Glasgow middle class. The emphasis in on a statistical presentation within a number of specific categories: occupation, social and family structure, property, wealth and income and finally consumption. These are supplemented by an outline of methodology and statistical techniques in the Appendices. Occupation and economic activity are shown to be the primary elements in class and individual identity. It is within the occupational context that all other criteria of class are discussed. The Glasgow middle class was an occupationally diverse group - a diversity born out of the broad economic functions of the city. Despite the significance of industry within the local economy, as late as the 1860's the Glasgow middle class was not typically engaged in manufacturing pursuits. With a structure dominated by dealing and trades, commerce and the professions, there had been much continuity in occupational structures since the late eighteenth century. Relatively gradual change in this important area of experience contributed to the stability and strength of the middle classes at times of social turmoil.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Slaven, Prof. Tony and Trainor, Dr, Rick
Date of Award: 1986
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:1986-75098
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019 08:17
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 08:18
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75098

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