In recent years, many have said that white collar professionals, college students and celebrities getting tattooed, pumping iron or riding motorcycles democratize or blur distinctions between rich and poor. However, a Penn State researcher claims just the opposite in a study including fads and fashions such as body sculpting at expensive health clubs, rich urban biking, the art of the chopper and modern primitive tattooing.
"The object is not to get chummy with the poor. These are artistic practices that reconstruct class boundaries and ultimately relegate the poor to the hardcore," says Karen Bettez Halnon, associate professor of sociology at Penn States Abington Campus near Philadelphia.
Signature tattoos, custom choppers, expensive health club fitness programs and the like represent a new form of gentrification, or middle class takeover of lower class communities, Halnon notes.
David Jwanier | EurekAlert!
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