Overlapping with the chardonnay socialist but not necessarily the same thing, the academic who is a petty-bourgeois life-styler has a distinct sense of his or her appropriate place in the social pecking-order. LS may initially seek an inner-city pad, preferably in a trendily post-alternative location. The squatters and underfed artists have long since disappeared, but their ghosts may still, in a wishful moment, haunt the streets. Despite a vague feeling of oneness with aborigines, ‘immigrants’ and refugees, those minorities can’t afford to live here. Although feeling a slight twinge of guilt about this, it suits LS quite nicely, since then they remain ideal causes.

But then, should a child or two happen to come along, the LS has two options. Either stay in such a location and join the tight-bodied mothers and fathers with jogging-strollers out on the promenade; or buy a house a little further out, but not too far, since then the LS would be in the dreaded wasteland of the suburbs. Now the cause of the most oppressed group in society – the ‘family’ with two small children – becomes the focus of LS’s life. As does the car with heated seats (in a colder climate), or a family sedan with aircon – Volvo of course, or its successor, for one buys those unbearably ugly vehicles only for safety and not due to any fetish for ‘freedom’ or ‘independence’.

Almost forgot the life of the mind: if it wasn’t for the children, the admin, the advocacy in LS’s scholarly organisation, the maintenance of a life appropriate to one’s standing, there would be time for a little more intellectual focus. But you can always do that in a café with colleagues. At least LS can always assert the status of intellectual to class others. Should a new office be on the cards and should there be a delay in the arrival of bookshelves, LS will draw upon all her class wrath and berate the guy moving the necessary appurtenances to the intellectual petty-bourgeois life: ‘I’m an academic! You may not understand this, but I must have bookshelves for my books’.

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