The Criterion of Refinement: The 1920s

Elvin Hatch

in Respectable Lives

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 1991 | ISBN: 9780520074729
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520911437 | DOI:
The Criterion of Refinement: The 1920s

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This chapter turns to one that refers to life-style, or to the element of refinement in life-style. Social hierarchy was greater before World War II than it is today in South Downs, for the postwar period saw a growing emphasis on egalitarianism. It explores the hierarchy of wealth in South Downs in the 1920s. It also covers the network of families at the upper end of the social spectrum, in order to reveal how social distance or hierarchy was expressed symbolically. It then addresses the people who were considered middling farmers and who did eat with their workers in the 1920s—that is, the middling, one-table households. The two-table theory included a crucial set of ideas about work itself. The one- and two-table theories of social hierarchy produced very different hierarchies of standing. On the one hand, the two-table theory served to distance the landholding elite from working people.

Keywords: life-style; social hierarchy; South Downs; egalitarianism; wealth; two-table theory; one-table households; 1920s

Chapter.  11269 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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