• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

It is not lost on commercial organisations that where we live colours how we view ourselves and others. That is why so many now place us into social groups on the basis of the type of postcode in which we live. Social scientists call this practice “commercial sociology”. Richard Webber originated Acorn and Mosaic, the two most successful geodemographic classifications. Roger Burrows is a critical interdisciplinary social scientist. Together they chart the origins of this practice and explain the challenges it poses to a long-established social scientific beliefs such as: • the role of the questionnaire in an era of “big data” • the primacy of theory • the relationship between qualitative and quantitative modes of understanding • the relevance of visual clues to lay understanding. To help readers evaluate the validity of this form of classification, the book assesses how well geodemographic categories track the emergence of new types of residential neighbourhood and subject a number of key contemporary issues to geodemographic modes of analysis.

Neighbourhoods and Their Classification
Neighbourhoods and Their Classification

byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together

William Turner in his The Rescuing of the Romish Fox, first published in 1545 (Swami, 2016: 162)
What sorts of people are passionately concerned about human rights?

A few years ago, a human rights charity commissioned an analysis of the 235,000 adults on its supporter file. Had a civil servant and not a human rights charity commissioned the analysis, or had it been a social scientist attached to a university who delivered it, the most likely output would have been a series of tables in a format similar to Tables 1.1 and 1.2.

Table 1.1 Age of Human Rights Charity Supporters


% of supporters

Aged 15–24


Aged 25–44


Aged 45–64


Aged 65+




Table 1.2 Social Class ...
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