Suburban homeownership & class identification : are two-bob tories a myth in New Zealand?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The growing structural complexity of developed post-capitalist societies has led many political theorists to add numerous qualifications to the assumed salience of relationships to 'property' in the shaping of social, and especially political attitudes and behaviour. Deviations from a class model of voting behaviour (a model which assumes the two-party system of the modern state to be essentially a 'democratic translation of the class struggle], have often been attributed to the believed need of men to have social recognition of their worth which may lead them to see their social position in terms which differ from those applied by the social scientist. Theorists disagree over the respective contributions made to class structuration by the positions men hold in the spheres of consumption and production but few deny that 'these two spheres have become increasingly separate and hence the possibility that men may attach different meanings to their positions in each sphere is recognised.
This thesis examines the theoretical links between orthodox class theory and two models of political behaviour (the embourgeoisement and housing class theses] which emphasise the importance of the sphere of consumption in shaping the socio-political orientations of specific groups in the class structure, especially home-owning manual workers. The applicability of both models to an understanding of political processes in New Zealand is discussed and the thesis concludes with the findings from an empirical survey which suggest that both models have some applicability to our understanding of why certain manual workers adopt a class identification and even political behaviours which do not conform with the pattern expected From sociologically conceived models of "objective" class position.