Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Accent and the manifestation of spatialised class structure

Donnelly, Michael; Gamsu, Sol; Barratta, Alex

Accent and the manifestation of spatialised class structure Thumbnail


Michael Donnelly

Alex Barratta


There is long standing interest within sociological debate to understand social class inequality spatially. We contribute to this debate by using a spatially differentiated understanding of accent, used here as a ‘window’ to observe the formation of socio-economic difference across space. From a spatial perspective, using the work of Doreen Massey, we draw on a unique multi-sited qualitative data-set, which contains the narratives of over 200 young people (aged 16/17) across 17 UK localities, spanning all 9 English regions and the 3 ‘home’ nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was a purposefully designed sample intended to capture the field of social relations across geographic space. Accent emerged as a signifier of the spatial manifestation in class boundaries and points of socio-economic difference. Diverse groups are complicit in the construction of normative accents, and the ‘othering’ of accents belonging to historically dominated places and regions. We observe here not only spatial differentiation within social class groups, but the ethnic solidarities that emerge as a consequence of marginalisation.


Donnelly, M., Gamsu, S., & Barratta, A. (2022). Accent and the manifestation of spatialised class structure. Sociological Review, 70(6), 1100-1118.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 16, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 22, 2022
Publication Date 2022-11
Deposit Date Dec 16, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 17, 2023
Journal The Sociological Review
Print ISSN 0038-0261
Electronic ISSN 1467-954X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 70
Issue 6
Pages 1100-1118
Public URL


Published Journal Article (284 Kb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

You might also like

Downloadable Citations