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Respectable LivesSocial Standing in Rural New Zealand$
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Elvin Hatch

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780520074729

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520074729.001.0001

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The Criterion of Refinement: After World War II

The Criterion of Refinement: After World War II

(p.159) Chapter Eight The Criterion of Refinement: After World War II
Respectable Lives

Elvin Hatch

University of California Press

This chapter discusses refinement after World War II. The social hierarchy in South Downs has changed significantly since the 1920s. Until 1969, full employment prevailed in New Zealand. Most people believe unequivocally that hierarchical distinctions are no longer very pronounced in South Downs. The post-World War II era was marked by strong egalitarian pressures that led to the abandonment of many of the overt symbols by which people of refinement distanced themselves from others. The “genteel families” in South Downs, and the role of refinement in the local social order are explored. Genteel patterns are disparaged by the rough especially, who see the toffs in general as artificial and status-conscious, and toffy men as effeminate.

Keywords:   refinement, World War II, South Downs, New Zealand, egalitarian, genteel families, social order

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