The middle classes in the city: Social mix or just ‘people like us’? A comparison of Paris and London

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Summary

This fully comparative study investigates the contemporary social and political characteristics and activities of the urban middle classes in Paris and London. It studies a range of neighbourhood types in each city – inner city gentrified (not socially mixed); gentrifying (socially mixed); suburban; exurban and gated communities – to ask to what extent the middle classes compare or contrast across these different locations in terms of their social relations and political attitudes and engagements (including, for example, schooling, use of public services and neighbourhood activism). The research consists of in-depth interviews with middle-class residents and key informants in each neighbourhood as well as an analysis of relevant documents that discuss middle class identity and activity in these cities. The study will draw out the implications of the findings for urban politics and policies (compared with the role the middle classes are assumed to play in these policies) at the neighbourhood, city, national and transnational scales.

The project is funded under an Anglo-French bilateral initiative by the ESRC and the Agence de Nationale de la Recherche (ANR).  Professor Gary Bridge is Principal Investigator of the UK team that includes Professor Tim Butler (Kings College London) and two Research Assistants. The French team is led by Professor Marie Helene Bacque (U Nanterre) and includes Yankel Fijalkow (U d Maine); Eric Charmes (Paris 8) Stephanie Vermeersch (CNRS-Paris Valdeseine) Lydie Launay (d’Evry).

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