The symbolic categorisation of social groups has become prominent in studies of social class. This article addresses a tension in this research regarding the relationship between different symbolic categories. We argue that the potential of moral categorisations to change or oppose the order of socioeconomic or cultural categorisations depends on whether moral categories are subordinate in a hierarchy or co-exist in a heterarchy of multiple symbolic categories. We explore the relationship between cultural, socioeconomic and moral categorisations by combining focus group and survey data among Danish citizens in a mixed-methods research design. Our study shows that moral categorisations are opposed but also subordinated to socioeconomic categorisations. Such categorisations therefore serve to legitimise rather than transform class inequality. This has important implications for understanding class relations in modern societies as well as for the study of symbolic categorisations, and it highlights the importance of studying the interrelationship between multiple symbolic categories.
- Socialt arbejde og sociale forhold