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Abstract

Despite persuasive arguments pertaining to the importance of social class in the shaping of human life, this has and continues to be neglected within psychological research. Using primarily a UK focus, we begin by outlining some of the ways in which ‘mainstream’ psychology typically conceptualises class (e.g. socio-economic status) and argue that such an approach has a number of detrimental implications, for example, neglecting structural inequalities and oppression and ‘othering’ the working class. We then present a selection of ‘critical’ and feminist-informed research on social class which, we argue, offers a more holistic and sophisticated understanding of class and, in particular, draws attention to the complexities involved in how people experience, understand and construct class, classed identities and class transitions. Further, such work provides insight into the many ways in which people reproduce, re-work and resist classed discourse in everyday contexts such as the home, work place and beyond. However, we acknowledge the need for investigation into how those with more economic power justify class privilege and discursively protect and maintain their status.