Social class shapes the form and function of relationships and selves

Rebecca M. Carey, Hazel Rose Markus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social class shapes relational realities, which in turn situate and structure different selves and their associated psychological tendencies. We first briefly review how higher class contexts tend to foster independent models of self and lower class contexts tend to foster interdependent models of self. We then consider how these independent and interdependent models of self are situated in and adapted to different social class-driven relational realities. We review research demonstrating that in lower social class contexts, social networks tend to be small, dense, homogenous and strongly connected. Ties in these networks provide the bonding capital that is key for survival and that promotes the interdependence between self and other(s). In higher social class contexts, social networks tend to be large, far-reaching, diverse and loosely connected. Ties in these networks provide the bridging capital that is key for achieving personal goals and that promotes an independence of self from other. We conclude that understanding and addressing issues tied to social class and inequality requires understanding the form and function of relationships across class contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Volume18
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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