Sociology: Transclasses

Excellent interview with Chantal Jaquet about social classes on Philomag. Here is the augmented summary:

Classes and transclasses

The notion of ‘social class’, like any categorization, seeks to oppose different situations, economic (poor and rich), cultural (local and immigrant), intellectual (level of education), professional, symbolic (bear the name of Rothschild or Dupont). Deep social reality but not fixed. It is not enough to define an identity.

‘Transclass’ refers in a neutral way to migrants between social classes. The other terms are pejorative (impeachment, downgrading, arrived) or appreciative (self-made man). They are blind to the intricacies of class transfer. Profits mask losses (new rich having lost his ethics), and vice versa (leaving a well-paid position frees from morally unbearable pressures).

Chantal Jaquet criticizes meritocracy, which places the success of the individual in his own talents. In fact at birth the child “has nothing or almost nothing. All that he is and all that he becomes, he owes first of all to the education of his family, to his social environment, to the school […] we are made of others, we are woven by others.” How then to explain the self-taught transclasses? Chantal criticizes also the notion of will. Simplistic lighting on trajectories. For there to be a ‘will for something’, that something must have emerged. Meetings and preliminary factors. Complex determination, going as far as sexual determination: a decried homosexuality takes the wrong paths.

Chantal Jaquet proposes to replace ‘identity’ by ‘complexion’. The power to act is always constituted in a context. Identity can be undone and rebuilt. Chantal thinks that “it is a wrong road to oppose class, gender, race, because in reality, there is no hierarchy between struggles. One struggle must not oust another. Because in reality, it would be tantamount to putting a part of what constitutes us to sleep and suffering.”

Very nice conclusion of Chantal on her personal journey. It seemed necessary to her, in order to be free, to “break with the confinement, the inter-self of the world of the bourgeoisie, which is a form of alienation and amputation, because it is basically a fake life not to see the world as it is, not to see misery, injustice, and to wall oneself in this possessive egoism, which shrinks the human being to the frontiers of the ego“.

How to go further ?

Let us not confuse the thing with its constitution. An identity is complex but it is also a fusion. Each one experiences a mentally unified rather than a mosaic of these influences described by Chantal. Most essayists neglect the upward look but here it is the downward that Chantal occults. We are also, intimately, the way people view us. Rough simplification but part of our personality.

Identity fusion is a level of mental experience independent of what constituted it. Level of symbolic and autonomous synthesis. It is an approximation of our personal past, in that it attributes different weights to the events that occurred. Some are idealized, others eliminated. Identity is therefore not the simple mixture of all the influences encountered. This frank independence makes us unpredictable. This is also where the will and freedom to undertake must be situated. Authentic autonomy that should not be reduced to its components as Chantal does.

Finally , there is a hierarchy between conflicts. If this were not the case, we would be powerless to solve them, because their solutions hinder each other. Double look at the hierarchy: Upward it is the fundamentalization of problems (what is the original cause?). Downward it is prioritization (what is the priority problem for my intentions?).


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