The middle classes play a key role in Bourdieu’s account of cultural distinction, as chief beneficiaries of, and as main agents in, the reproduction of social and cultural dominance.When Bourdieu wroteDistinction, the majority of the population were routine workers in agriculture, industry and services, but over the past 50 years, the remarkable expansion of the middle classes – leaving aside issues of definition for the moment – has changed the balance of class relations, with the working class increasingly seen by many as a marginal rump, stigmatised and unvalued (Skeggs, 1997; Charlesworth, 2000; Savage, 2000). This process has been accompanied by accentuated income inequalities as an increasingly affluent middle class reaps the rewards of neo-liberal governance, leaving behind a more precarious working and intermediate class. Thus, the middle classes appear to ‘self-exclude’ themselves by living in exclusive areas, engaging in distinctive forms of consumption, and above all prioritising their own self-interest (Majima and Warde, 2007; Blokland and Savage, 2008).