Classlessness as Doxa: Late Modernity and Changing Perceptions of Class Division in Iceland
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation advances class analysis with a historical study of how the cultural and structural changes of late modernity impact class awareness. Using socialdemocratic Iceland as a case, I examine newspaper accounts, parliamentary records, and survey data to study (1) representations of classlessness from 1986 to 2007, (2) perceptions of class division from 1986 to 2012, and (1) class identity in the wake of Iceland's economic collapse in 2008. I draw primarily from Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical framework in my analysis. Contrary to prominent assertions that class awareness in Western societies has decreased across the board in late modernity, my analysis shows that perceptions of class division in Iceland increased over the study period. My results show how crises resulting from neoliberal globalization, the hallmark of late modernity, undermined the previously taken for granted assumption that Iceland is a relatively classless society, that is, "classlessness as doxa." These crises exposed classlessness as doxa to critical reflection, which, in turn, heightened perceptions of class division. My overall argument is that perceptions of class division increased because Icelandic society grew more culturally and economically differentiated as a result of neoliberal globalization, particularly at the "top" and "bottom" of the class structure.
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