upper class

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upper class

US Education of or relating to the junior or senior classes of a college or high school
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

upper class

the topmost class in any society. In modern British society this class can be said to consist of:
  1. a core of around 25,000 individuals who exercise strategic control over the economy (Scott, 1982);
  2. a wider group of individuals and families owning considerable, usually inherited, wealth, and distinguished by a distinctive lifestyle.

Since the numbers of individuals involved is relatively small, networks of relationships (e.g. public-school education, upper-class leisure pursuits) play an important part in sustaining the distinctive lifestyle and high social status, as well as the economic and political power, enjoyed by the upper-class. Persons whose family origins are upper-class are also prominent in élite professions, such as the administrative class of the civil service, the judiciary, and the upper echelons of the military, positions which may be seen as upper-class in their own right.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Some people haven't got where they are today due to anything other than belonging to the privileged "upper classes".
Holzapfel, I would suggest that perhaps the late caudillo's loathing of the upper classes was quite justified, at least from a nationalist--or even a patriotic--point of view.
"It's not that the upper classes are cold-hearted," said UC Berkeley social psychologist Jennifer Stellar, lead author of the study.
"What was it," she writes, "about garden parties that brought out the inner chav in even the upper classes?"
But the bigger issue is why is everything in Scotland which doesn't appeal to the wealthy upper classes being wiped off the map?
British politics is dominated by the middle classes, with a few business types, and, worse, lawyers, although all major parties are controlled by the upper classes via the media they own.
He must be a very sad person with a lot of time on his hands if all he wishes to achieve as an MP is the downfall of the so-called "upper classes" whatever that term means in the 21st century.
Snowcroft presents The Blanchard Brothers Film Company, a novel set at the beginning of the twentieth century--when motion pictures were just beginning to spread as a form of popular entertainment in the nickelodeons frequented by the lower classes, while the upper classes watched theater and the middle classes attended vaudeville.
She is impeded in her goal by her selfish and willful 14-year-old sister and a tyrannical father; she also becomes distracted by what she thinks might be love for a swain from the upper classes. The swain, however, is far from worthy of her attentions, and when headstrong Lucy is killed, Ellen is needed even more in the circus.
Neither peasants, who had unmediated access to subsistence, nor the upper classes, who relied on the state for revenue, were subject to systematic pressure to compete, specialize, and cut costs by replacing labor with capital and relentlessly reinvesting.
Indeed, one of the strengths of this informative book is the use Turner has made of pamphlets which took delight in exposing the marital problems of the upper classes as well as those that offered serious marital advice to their readers.
The centre's biggest and most challenging project so far was the creation of Oyster Wars, which tells the story of the dredging of the Forth oyster beds in the 17th Century, when oysters, until then the staple diet of the fishermen, were becoming a delicacy for the upper classes.

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