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Middle class

Related: bourgeois - class


The middle class, in colloquial usage, consists of those people who have a degree of economic independence, but not a great deal of social influence or power. The term often encompasses merchants and professionals, bureaucrats, and some farmers and skilled workers.

Social hierarchies, and their definitions, vary. There are many factors that can define the middle class of a society, such as money, behavior and heredity. In the US and many other countries, it is predominantly money that determines one's place in the social hierarchy. In other societies it can be other social factors such as education, profession (white collar rather than blue collar), home ownership, or culture.

The connotation of the term also varies significantly between nations. US usage is increasingly broad in scope but almost always positive in intent, creating the image of an unpretentious, hard-working person as contrasted to an elitist or exploitative upper class. In the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth nations, the term can sometimes be pejorative, implying a privileged bourgeois person often simulating upper class mannerisms or attitudes, in contrast to a hard-working and unpretentious working class person. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_class [Sept 2006]

Placing Sex: Sexuality, Taste and Middlebrow Culture in the Reception of Playboy Magazine

Related: Mark Jancovich - Playboy magazine

Playboy magazine is generally acknowledged to be one of the most successful and influential magazines of the post-war period. It has not only won 1,600 prestigious awards and more general respect for its interviews, articles and overall design, the corporation is proud to declare that it is ‘the only publishing entity that has become a major global consumer brand’. The corporation also quotes a 1989 article in Financial World which called the Playboy Rabbit ‘the second-best recognised logo in the world’, a logo which was only kept out of first place by Coca-Cola. Even today, despite frequent claims that the magazine is moribund or anachronistic, Playboy continues to sell in phenomenal numbers with a total international circulation of 4.5 million. At its height, in September 1972, the magazine sold 7,012,000 copies and regularly sold 6-7 million copies per month. These figures, however, do not adequately reflect the size of the magazine’s readership, which is greatly increased when one takes into account the ways in which the magazine is passed along from reader to reader after purchase. As a result, it is estimated currently to have a readership of 12 million men, more ‘than GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Details combined.’ Even then, added to the above figure are another 1.3 million women, a group that currently comprises 14% of the magazine’s total readership (Playboy Enterprises Inc. 1998). -Mark Jancovich, post-2001 in http://www.cult-media.com

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