The Great Canadian Class Study (GCCS) is a collaborative project with Dr. Zohreh Bayatrizi (Associate Professor, University of Alberta) and Dr. Guillaume Durou (Assistant professor, University of Alberta, Faculté Saint-Jean).
As the most in-depth investigation of social class and inequality in Canada since John Porter’s The Vertical Mosaic (1965), this research will fill a fifty-year gap in studies of economic inequality and class stratification. Drawing on lessons learned from the 2011-13 Great British Class Survey (GBCS), conducted by Dr. Mike Savage and colleagues in the UK, which had huge popular impact, the GCCS aims to recharge both academic and public debates about social class in Canada and cross-nationally.
Following research focused on the labour market, social scientists have traditionally used occupation as a key proxy for social class, but questions remain as to whether occupation sufficiently captures the many dimensions of class status and membership. As my research demonstrates, wealth, a key aspect of economic capital, also determines a person’s level of economic stability, and following Dr. Savage’s research, factors such as social capital, as identified within networks, and cultural capital, defined by know-how, taste, and activity preferences, also matter for class distinctions. The GCCS will therefore broaden understandings of social class while reinvigorating interest in studies of stratification and inequality in Canada.
More specifically, this project attends to ongoing theoretical debates about the continued usefulness of social class through an ambitious theoretically-informed empirical investigation using multiple secondary data sources, a large public web survey, set of in-depth interviews, and parallel nationally representative quota-based online survey. This project tackles issues of class distinctions by considering economic, social, and cultural capital while addressing increasing economic insecurity across the country. Taking a more intersectional approach than previous studies, we also study how class membership varies in accordance with race, ethnicity, immigrant status, gender, disability status, age, and geographic location.
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SSHRC Insight Grant (2020-2025) “The Vertical Mosaic in the 21st Century: The Great Canadian Class Study” (#435-2020-0451, $259,979)