Socioeconomic attainment, cultural tastes, and ethnic identity : class subjectivities among Uyghurs in Ürümchi

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2169-2186
Journal / PublicationEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number12
Online published10 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Many scholars have cited socioeconomic status, cultural tastes, and group reference as the major determinants of class identification. Few have conceptualized minority ethnicity as a vital source of class subjectivities, however. I address this knowledge gap in this paper by examining Uyghur subjective class status in Ürümchi, China. I show that income and occupational attainment are not correlated with Uyghur choices of class labels. I also show that Uyghur ethnic identity affects their choices of class labels. I argue that Uyghurs think that they are a dominated group and compare themselves with Han Chinese unfavourably when defining their subjective class positions in Ürümchi. As a result, intergroup competition overshadows the variability in socioeconomic attainments among different Uyghur groups. The implications of these findings for research on class identification in multi-ethnic societies are discussed. Data are drawn from a survey (N = 900) conducted in Ürümchi in 2007.

Research Area(s)

  • China, Class status, cultural taste, ethnic identity, minority, Muslim