Wednesday, June 01, 2005

He's a musician, he's a post-secondary teacher, two classes in one!

From Sean Carroll, I find out that I can determine how classy I am, in four simple steps. The New York Times graphic looks at Occupation, Income, Education, and Wealth, to determine whether you are lower class, middle class (lower, middle or upper), or upper class. Really it is ranking by quintiles, and I think the labels of the three types of middle class are misleading. They have the maximum education of "some college" as upper middle class, which may be true by percentages, but not by associations of class. The "some college" would be associated as lower middle class by my reckoning, with bachelor's degree as middle class, master's degrees as upper middle class, and the various doctorates as upper 5th. If we are going purely by populations, I don't think the political associations of class names should be used. But then the article wouldn't be as interesting to the public, proles that they are...

However, what I found interesting (like Sean), is the ranking of occupations. Sean is happy, as physicists are ranked #5 out of 440 jobs. Unfortunately, musicians are all grouped together, regardless of the specific genre. The ranking: #182 for "Musicians, Singers, and related workers." (The old joke about musicians and singers has apparently become fact for the NYT.) I would think there is a big difference between classical musicians, jazz musicians, and rock musicians in terms of "classiness," though I understand that the study couldn't have separate categories for every type of job. So I'm feeling depressed that I'm so far down on the respect meter, when I remember that I'm not just a musician, I'm a professor! "Post-secondary teacher" ranks way up at #25, still no scientist but much better than those bourgeois performers. Again, professors at Harvard are grouped with instructors at Cankdeska Cikana Community College, which seems a bit heterogenous for a group. But what do I know, I'm just a musician, er, post-secondary teacher.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Yes, the study seems far too simplistic in its categories. I also think there is a big difference between the respect afforded a given profession by those in or near that profession, and the general public. Also with education: PhDs look down on all other types of doctorates as mere professional degrees, yet the general public respects the MD much more than the PhD.