Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pedigree and privilege: class consciousness quiz

H/T Rev Sam. The idea is to highlight the elements of your own upbringing that apply in bold as an exercise in social class awareness. I've modified the language of a few statements to make them more suitable for an Australian context. For a few others, I've replaced culturally irrelevant statements with what I think might be more suitable ones.

Text below copied (with modifications) from Step into Social Class 2.0: A Social Class Awareness Experience. Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka, Indiana State University, © 2008. See Rev Sam's post for the original.

Embolden the true statements.

1. My father went to university.
2. My father finished university.
3. My mother went to university.
4. My mother finished university.
5. Have any relative who is or was a lawyer, doctor or academic.
6. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
7. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
8. Were read children’s books by a parent.
9. Had extra-curricular lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
10. Had more than two kinds of extra-curricular lessons before you turned 18.
11. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.

12. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
13. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your university costs.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your university costs.
15. Went to a private primary school.
16. Went to a private high school.
17. Your family regularly employed a cleaner.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.*
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in an HSC preparation course or study camp outside of school.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or shares in high school or university.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. Growing up, you were unaware of how much electricity bills cost for your family.

*From a relative who was an artist.

Nineteen out of thirty-four. I'm not sure whether there is meant to be a rating system to accompany the statements. How did others go? What other statements would you suggest ought to be added to the list to make it more accurate? What has been your experience of the class system in Australia (or elsewhere)?


Megan said...

Hi, I've been reading for a while but have never commented before - my twin brother Adam Powell put me on to you (I'm also friends of Andrew Paterson). I also got 19. I've always considered myself very middle class. Class was something I was conscious of growing up as my parents came from different class backgrounds.

byron smith said...

Hi Megan, and thanks for sharing a little of your experience. I think I was largely ignorant of class growing up. I knew theoretically about such differences, but was largely blind (and probably still am) to the many ways these differences shape our expectations about what is 'normal'.

One of Freedom said...

I got six. Interesting. I was aware of class growing up because we were at the low end of middle class and I had immediate relatives that were upper class. It is in disparity that you realize the difference.

nico said...

wow, i got 22, and my mum was always telling me how we never had enouhg money...

no original art unless you count my crayon drawings, tastefully framed by vegemite magnets on the fridge!

byron smith said...

Jess just suggested another statement: No relatives were members of a union.

Looney said...

Hmmm. I scored an 8, but never thought of myself as underprivileged. Maybe it was the 500+ books.

Anonymous said...

We did it last night - I got 20, Hannah got 15. I'm not sure if they should all have equal weighting. (eg, buying you a car and taking you to an art gallery).

Got me thinking what impact this would have on building social capital in future communities from people who have grown up with different elements of these. Might be interesting to group them into financial (not to mention environmental) 'importance' (can't think of a better word). That would also (somehow) help with the rating.


byron smith said...

Yeah, I know, different weightings would make a lot of sense (and there is the start of a weighting system with the cumulative statements such as 50/500 books and most/all of the uni fees).

bigdog said...

I got 10, but I don't think the flying on a commercial airlines should count for me being a missionary kid and all. I scored a couple of other points due to a generous Grandparent.

Unknown said...

I've got only 24 points just because I live in Eastern Europe and I didn't know much about a credit card or private school before 1989.But I really belong to upper class, although I have not a driving licence because of improper health condition.