The Criterion of Refinement: After World War II

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: After World War II

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This chapter discusses refinement after World War II. The social hierarchy in South Downs has changed significantly since the 1920s. Until 1969, full employment prevailed in New Zealand. Most people believe unequivocally that hierarchical distinctions are no longer very pronounced in South Downs. The post-World War II era was marked by strong egalitarian pressures that led to the abandonment of many of the overt symbols by which people of refinement distanced themselves from others. The “genteel families” in South Downs, and the role of refinement in the local social order are explored. Genteel patterns are disparaged by the rough especially, who see the toffs in general as artificial and status-conscious, and toffy men as effeminate.

Keywords: refinement; World War II; South Downs; New Zealand; egalitarian; genteel families; social order

Chapter.  8713 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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