The urban class structure: Class change and spatial divisions from a multidimensional class perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Social class plays a central role in understanding the urban structure, yet its conceptualization and operationalization in urban studies are limited. We have used the Bourdieusian conception of social class, which conceives of class as the possession of economic, social and cultural capital, to establish the class structure of Rotterdam. We make a theoretical contribution to the literature by discussing how this conception provides new insights into the professionalization-polarization debate. Furthermore, we examine the spatial distributions of different class fractions, known as the geography of class. Based on two waves of a comprehensive city survey, we applied latent class analysis to develop an elaborate class typology consisting of seven social classes. We investigate how the class structure developed between 2008 and 2017 and analyze the changes in spatial class divisions. Our findings show that the transformation of the class structure is mainly driven by changes in cultural capital, that is, middle classes with high cultural capital replacing lower and middle classes with low cultural capital. Spatial analyses further reveal that classes are dispersed in specific ways and that these patterns of dispersion change over time. Finally, we reflect on the relevance of Bourdieu’s work in studying the urban class structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-943
Number of pages27
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


Dive into the research topics of 'The urban class structure: Class change and spatial divisions from a multidimensional class perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this