The Valencian middle classes come closer to the lower classes and their living conditions worsen more than in the rest of Spain

Rafael Castelló.

Rafael Castelló.

The institution Alfons el Magnànim-Valencian Centre for Studies and Research has just published the first monograph on the Valencian middle classes, Camins d’incertesa i frustració. Les classes mitjanes valencianes (2004-2018) (-Paths of uncertainty and frustration. The Valencian middle classes (2004-2018)-), by the professor of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology of the University of Valencia Rafael Castelló-Cogollos. The book, through surveys and quantitative data, carries out an exhaustive analysis of the evolution of the different social class groups and, specifically, of the Valencian middle classes during the economic crisis, and warns about the increase in inequality, the punishment for labour income and solidarity fatigue.

During the last years, the Valencian middle classes have experienced a period of difficulty that in the rest of Spain has been observed differently according to the results of the surveys. In the case of the Valencian Community, the risk of poverty and exclusion increased by 33.8% for the middle class and 44.7% in the lower Valencian classes. On the other hand, according to the European indicator that measures this risk, At Risk of Poverty and Exclusion (AROPE), it has been detected that in the rest of Spain the vision is very different: the risk of poverty and exclusion increases by 21% in classes low and decreases almost 17% for the middle classes. As for the upper classes, in the Valencian Community the risk of exclusion was reduced by 84% between 2004 and 2018, more than double that in the rest of Spain (39.9%).

The composition of the middle classes has changed. These have become internally polarised, so they are less cohesive now. Along the way they have suffered impoverishment and experience of downward mobility, and they have also come closer to the lower classes. The types of jobs and their income have been reduced, also their consumption caused by the increase in prices and now more capital income is needed to stay in position.

These factors configure a scenario in which the Valencian middle classes have seen how market relations have complicated the maintenance of their living conditions. The general process of budget cuts and public contracting has a particularly negative impact on the middle classes which, furthermore, in the Valencian case is aggravated by the deficits in public financing by central governments.

Camins d’Incertesa i frustració (’Paths of Uncertainty and Frustration’) is a book where you can see how the Valencian middle classes, unlike the rest of the territories of Spain, have been especially harmed both by pre-distributive processes, the result of market mechanisms, and by distributive processes, the effect of the functioning of the state. Valencian society is at a crossroads in terms of its economic model and also in terms of regional financing, since fair financing could have corrective effects. Rafael Castelló’s book is number 8 in the ’Descobrim’ collection, directed by Antonio Ariño. The collection design is by the editor Jaume Ortolà and the cover design is by the designer Eugenio Simó.

Territorial collective identities Rafael Castelló-Cogollos (Carcaixent, Ribera Alta, 1964) is a professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, and was the director of the Language and Linguistic Policy Service at the University of Valencia. He teaches quantitative social research techniques and the social structure of the Valencian Country. He has a degree in Economics (1986) and a doctorate in Sociology (1999). His research focuses on collective territorial identities and linguistic practices, on the sociology of political and social participation, and on the social structure of inequalities.

He has published in multiple collective works on these issues, as well as research articles in Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies, Arxius de Ciències Socials, Debats and Revista Española de Sociología, entre altres. He has been part of research teams in R+D+i projects financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation on vital precariousness and emerging social responses to crises.

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