The article is translated by the author himself.
Interpretative Freedom and New Combination: The Way in Which the “Middle Class” Has Been Narrated
Article first published online: 21 OCT 2010
© 2010 The Author. International Journal of Japanese Sociology © 2010 The Japan Sociological Society
International Journal of Japanese Sociology
Volume 19, Issue 1, pages 99–111, November 2010
How to Cite
ONOUE, M. (2010), Interpretative Freedom and New Combination: The Way in Which the “Middle Class” Has Been Narrated. International Journal of Japanese Sociology, 19: 99–111. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6781.2010.01125.x
- Issue published online: 21 OCT 2010
- Article first published online: 21 OCT 2010
The English words “middle class” have experienced much more connotations and denotations—typically “bourgeoisie,” “white-collar,” and professional—than any other class-referring word since the latter half of the 18th century. On the one hand, in response to such diverse narrations during about two and a half centuries, I partially agree with some of the nominalistic theories of class, in that the middle classes were not created until they were named by contemporaries. On the other hand, my view diverges from those theories, in my asserting that the contemporaries have had an interpretative freedom to recognize “middle classes” only within the bounds of plausibility on the side of the realistic social world. The typical middle class in each period has emerged in such a way that Schumpeter's new combination is performed in a stage of recession by new entrepreneurs, who will move into the “middle” strata and hold some cultural leadership but still obtain inconsistent statuses, to be recognized as “middle class”ex post facto in a boom time. Two Kondratieff's cycles have had one recognition of the typical “middle class.” The new combination is one of the pressures bringing middle classes into a modern society, contrary to the so-called class decomposition into the two poles.