Abstract

Scholars have long argued that there are two occupational fractions within the middle class forming two separate classes. They are commonly referred to as the technocrats and the social-cultural specialists. In this article, we distinguish two ‘new’ classes of the high- and low-grade social-cultural specialists and two ‘old’ classes of the high- and low-grade technocrats within the middle class. The classes of the social-cultural specialists are expected to be as closed as the other social classes. If the classes of the social-cultural specialists indeed form ‘new’ classes, they should become more closed over time. Therefore, we investigate whether the social-cultural specialists and the technocrats have different patterns of intragenerational class (im)mobility compared to other classes and whether these patterns change over time. We use Dutch mobility data from 16 representative surveys (n = 12,548). The results strongly support the ‘new’ class division and show that the class of the high-grade social-cultural specialists are more closed than all other social classes. The class of the lower-grade social-cultural specialists is also rather closed and indeed becomes more closed over time.

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