The Defining Of The Social Class Sociology Essay

In this essay I shall get down by specifying what societal category is every bit illustrated in the Collinss societal work dictionary. I will look at the manner category can act upon the life opportunities of a individual in Britain today. I will look at how the power and impotence of each category can impact the ability of person to command their lives and entree the resources within our society. I will discus the different political orientations environing category and highlight the differences between the life opportunities enjoyed or non by members of the different societal categories. I will reason that category has a important affect on a individuals life opportunities and seek to back up that statement with grounds and informations.

“ Social category is normally defined either as a stratum within society based upon a categorization of businesss or as a system based upon the distribution and ownership of belongings in society ” ( Collins Internet Linked Dictionary of Social Work 2006 )

Social category can be defined as a hierarchal order of people ( A tiered system with one category above another ) within a society, based on their economic, cultural norms or employment position. Social category is frequently discussed in the footings of societal stratification, this refers to the different degrees that groups of people consider themselves to be portion of or where society in its general term considers the person to be. Stratification is a term borrowed from geology ( the survey of stones ) that describes the procedure where beds of stones are formed one above the other, these are referred to as strata. In todays society strata are the categories.

In the in-between ages there was what was called the estate system ( besides known as the feudal system ) the male monarchs being at the top of the system, so there were the baronial Godheads and below the Godheads were the knights.The bulk of the population were known as the provincials and the helot. Each of these were known as a estate.

Estates were different from categories intending that people were born into an estate that they would stay. There was no societal mobility ( no manner of traveling up or down ) Their

Position was ascribed ( born into ) to them following their birth.

In other civilizations different societal systems developed for illustration in India a caste system. This is where people believed in reincarnation ( born once more ) the 1s at the underside of the caste system accepted this. Their faith and belief made them think that they deserved to be at that place and it was all right for others to look them up and down. In hope they would be reborn into a higher caste when they were reincarnated, they would seek to take better lives.

A stronger signifier of stratification was slavery. Slavery wholly subjugated one group to the will and whim of another even to the power of life or decease. A slave proprietor killing a slave would non be thought to hold committed slaying. This divided the slaves and the slave proprietors into really different groups in footings of power. The proprietors of the slaves treated the slaves really badly.Slaves were bought and sold all the clip. Sadly bondage still exists in some parts of the universe.

All societies have some signifier of system that describes its societal construction. In Britain today this construction is based on category. The manner that system is defined has been under treatment for many old ages. Karl Marx ( May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883 ) a German philosopher, political economic expert, historian, political theoretician, Sociologist, Communist, and radical ) described category as being divided into two chief groups ; The nobility or middle class and the workers or labor. The middle class controlled the agency of production, factories natural resources or owned the land. Whilst the workers or labor merely had their labor which they sold to gain money. Max Weber ( 1864-1920 ) A German classical sociologist, described a four tier societal category system, though he agreed with Marx that the chief division was between the Capitalist category who owned the agencies of production and the on the job category who sold their labor to the Capitalist category.

Britain ‘s societal construction is most normally described as a three bed system, which is ; the upper, in-between and lower category, although many would polish this theoretical account farther by depicting themselves as either upper or lower within each category. The in-between category are made up of professionals and educated or extremely skilled people, whilst the upper category would be the nobility and those with power and influence.

Sociologists besides describe an lower class that sits below the working category and is made up of the longterm unemployed or those with small opportunity of accessing the labor market and who require benefits from the province to last.

The Office for National Statistics who are a authorities organic structure responsible for the cardinal aggregation of all relevant national informations use an eight bed system of socioeconomic categorization runing from NS-SEC1 ( National Statistics Socio Economic Classification ) Higher managerial/professional businesss to NS-SEC8 Never worked/long term unemployed. Efficaciously NS-SEC8 are the lower class.

All the categories have a broad scope of societal imposts and norms that farther place their members and to which people feel affinity with, such as the types of amusement they enjoy, their positions and beliefs or their manner of address. Premises about a individuals category can be made by the manner they talk or frock.

“ An Englishman ‘s manner of talking perfectly classifies him. The minute he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him. ” ( Cited in Kingdom J Pg 184 2008 )

Class background has many affects on about all countries of peoples lives and influences their life opportunities. life opportunities can be described as the benefits available within a society, or the resources that can heighten our experiences, these can be a longer life anticipation, better wellness, lower kid mortality, healthier diet, higher occupation position, better lodging, more frequent and varied vacations, entree to private or high quality instruction and from that a greater likeliness of educational accomplishment. Equally good as category, ethnicity and gender affect life opportunities excessively.

Sociologists have described a move In recent old ages from working category into the in-between categories this has been due to a lifting criterion of life and an addition in place ownership.

“ Due to lifting life criterions among the working category, it was argued, increasing Numberss of this group were efficaciously fall ining the in-between category. ”

( Haralambos and Holborn 2004, p.51 ) .

Power is a characteristic of the category divisions and as such has influence on the life opportunities of those within each category. Anthony Giddens ( 18th Jan 1938 ) a British sociologist wrote that power is used to suppress and work and gives entree to scarce resources. This is the position of Marxists who feel that the opinion or upper categories use their power to suppress the on the job category and work their labor.

“ Power is the ability to accomplish your purposes against resistance ”

( Harris S, Study Guide Sociology Pg120 )

Power is a necessary constituent in any society, otherwise chaos would interrupt lose: leaders must be established.

Max Weber ( 1864-1920 ) A German classical sociologist distinguished three types of legitimate power that exist in society these are ;

Rational-legal authorization, this is based on regulations and processs which are normally written down. Obedience is hence non to an person but to the regulations. The authorities holds this type of power and uses a bureaucratism to command the application of those regulations for illustration, through revenue enhancement via the Inland Revenue.

Charismatic authorization is derived from the personal qualities a individual possesses that give them the ability to capture, take, carry, inspire and influence others. Adolf Hitler used his personal appeal and oratorical accomplishments to act upon others into following and believing in his political orientation of National Socialism.

The 3rd type described by Weber is Traditional authorization ; this is based on historical case in point. Monarchies are illustrations of the people that have traditional authorization.

“ Power ” demands to be seen as the belongings of assorted signifiers of societal organisation and relationships, instead than as a “ thing ” in its ain right. ( Cited in Power and Politics Unit P2: Theories of The State )

The influences of category on the life opportunities of a individual are dependent upon the power that individual or category has, to entree the limited resources available. The working category with their limited fiscal power and addiction on the labor market are restricted in the power they can rally to help them in geting the resources of the society. Whilst the upper category have influence and wealth that they can utilize to derive themselves all that they might necessitate.

In our society societal workers have power that Webber would depict as rational legal authorization granted to them by the regulations of our society. Following authorities statute law they use their power to help and protect the more vulnerable members of society. In their work they should ever use AOP/ADP Anti favoritism Practice and Anti Oppressive Practice both of which purpose to better the quality of life or good being of single groups and communities. These patterns have been developed to contend the inequalities inherent in a hierarchal society and guarantee a more inclusive attack is used. When working with parents of looked after kids ( LAC ) the societal worker must ever guarantee they have given the parents all information and counsel they need to entree their rights.

Political orientation

Depending on your political point of view category differences are something that is a natural consequence of any human society falling into a hierarchal order or a system of subjugation maintained to work the on the job category.

It has been suggested that societal inequality is a characteristic of all human societies.

( Haralambos and Holborn 2004, p.1 ; Bilton et al 1994, p.34 )

The right flying political point of view would hold with the quotation mark seeing in it a exoneration of the natural order of things. Whereas a Marxist would reason that such inequality should be seen as unacceptable and the merchandise of development by the opinion category.

Capitalism and right wing political relations believe in a free market where those who can, win and hold the chance for ego betterment. They believe that if some one has the “ right material ” so they will be able to lift to the top regardless of the place from which they start.

“ The peculiar characteristics British conservativists see as their tradition tend to include societal hierarchy, the monarchy, the House of Lords, the patriarchal household, belongings and a natural opinion category. Inequality is natural and socially necessary: it can non be eradicated. Consequently poorness is nil to be ashamed of. ”

( Kingdom J Pg 39. 2008 )

Marxists or Socialists would reason that the gulf between the governing category and the laden working categories was so great that it was impossible for them to vie on an equal terms. Socialists position society as a whole and experience a moral duty to one another. This Bolshevism fosters values of fraternity and selflessness towards all members of society and accordingly they see inequality and something to get the better of.

The political political orientation around category is focussed around whether a hierarchal system with a societal elite commanding the bulk of power and resources and with an underprivileged working category supplying a beginning of inexpensive labor is acceptable as a natural effect of human societies or whether a more equal system which portions the resources of the society based on demand is something which a developed society should endeavor for. Argument on this will go on.

Life Chances the differences

‘Based on Weber ‘s tradition, societal groups are stratified harmonizing to their life styles, in the sense of ingestion forms, understanding that the life style is every bit much a pick as a consequence of people ‘s opportunities. Harmonizing to Cockerham and colleges, Weber ‘s overall thesis provinces that ‘chance is socially determined, and societal construction is an agreement of opportunities. Hence, life styles are non random behaviors unrelated to construction but are typically calculated picks influenced by life opportunities ‘ ( Cockerham et al. , 1997: 32

A serious affect of societal category on life opportunities is the rate of deceases in kids. Mortality rates for decease from hurt in kids have been dropping over the last century and though they have more than halved in the last 20 old ages it has been identified that there are broad fluctuations in the mortality rate by socioeconomic category. The tabular array below taken from the British Medical Journal is portion of a survey into decease from hurt in kids under 15 by socio economic group.

The survey found that whilst the overall mortality rate for kids under 15 for decease from hurt fell from 11.1 deceases per 100,000 in 1981 to 4.0 deceases per 100,000, In 2001. There was a distinguishable difference between the socioeconomic category groups. The opportunities of decease from hurt for kids from NS-SEC8 who ‘s parents had either ne’er worked or were longterm unemployed was over 13 times higher than for kids from the highest societal group NS-SEC8

It can besides been seen clearly from the tabular array that the mortality rate per 100.000 rises steadily as the societal category moves downward with the exclusion of the top two categories which are reversed, though the difference between so is merely 0.3 per 100,000. It is clear from this that a kid ‘s life opportunities in footings of endurance are straight linked to the societal category they are born into. The inequality between the societal groupings is blunt, particularly when you look at undetermined deceases: those deceases were 32.6 times higher for kids from the lowest societal category. This survey merely looked at decease from hurt and does non include those deceases due to hapless wellness or hygiene.

Table 1

Deaths from hurt and toxic condition and rates per twelvemonth per 100 000 kids aged 0-15 old ages by eight category NS-SEC, 2001-3


Deaths 2001-3aˆ

Rate ( 95 % CI ) per twelvemonth per 100 000 kids

1: Higher managerial/professional businesss


1.9 ( 1.6 to 2.4 )

2: Lower managerial/professional businesss


1.6 ( 1.3 to 1.9 )

3: Intermediate businesss


2.9 ( 2.2 to 3.7 )

4: Small employers/own history workers


2.9 ( 2.4 to 3.5 )

5: Lower supervisory/technical businesss


2.7 ( 2.2 to 3.3 )

6: Semi-routine businesss


4.0 ( 3.4 to 4.7 )

7: Everyday businesss


5.0 ( 4.3 to 5.8 )

8: Never worked/long term unemployed


25.4 ( 22.9 to 28.1 )



4.0 ( 3.8 to 4.2 )

NS-SEC=National Statisticss Socio-Economic Classification.

aˆ Excludes one kid for whom NS-SEC was losing

BMJ. 2006 July 15 ; 333 ( 7559 ) : 119.

Department of the Interior: 10.1136/bmj.38875.757488.4F.

Copyright A© 2006, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.

One of the greatest factors still doing a difference between the categories with respects to life opportunities is instruction, despite the best efforts of the province system and old ages of work to shut the spread between the educational experience of the upper and lower categories, their is a gulf that is about insurmountable.Children from working category households do less good against all educational bench Markss, from GCSE consequences to university entryway. One group that suffer more than most are kids in the attention system. LAC ( looked after kids ) are affected by: Poverty, lodging, unhealthy diets and hapless instruction success. Sing these effects on LAC they can play an tremendous portion of their single, societal and working throughout their life. It is understood and evidenced that kids who are brought up in the attention system antecedently had a deficiency of chance, hence doing these persons less likely to be motivated to accomplish any academic makings and lead to a big figure of immature people go forthing the attention system without any chances available to them to make their full potency. This reinforced the category system, making a group of persons who would be more likely to stay dependent on the province system, hence making a rhythm of persons within their ain category system. “ The rhythm of want is bad for everyone. But is peculiar unfair for kids who miss out on chances because they inherit the disadvantage faced by their parents, so their life opportunities are determined by where they come from instead than who they are ” ( cited in Cunningham. J and Cunningham. S 2008 page 45 )

Looked after kids are more likely to be excluded from school, leave with less than five GCSE base on ballss and tend non to travel onto farther instruction. Before even get downing school they will frequently hold suffered from attachment upsets doing it hard for them to link with or trust others, they may hold suffered from hapless nutrition, they will perchance hold missed medical assignments for wellness jobs and immunizations, or suffer from low ego regard which will earnestly impact their ability to larn and develop the assurance to believe they can win. They move school more often than norm and hold more clip off school. In some instances they are the chief carer for younger siblings due to the deficiency of attention given by parents. “ Every Child Matters ” is an inaugural brought in following the Laming enquiry into the decease of Victoria Climbe that aimed to turn to these issues by doing all bureaus involved with kids work more efficaciously together to extinguish the inequalities that kids from hapless or underprivileged backgrounds face.


Reasoning this essay I believe that there is clear grounds that category has an influence on life opportunities. We have seen how kids ‘s mortality rate are immensely higher in the lowest category compared with all other categories and in peculiar those in the highest two categories. Access to private instruction gives the upper classes a path into the most powerful places in society and fiscal wagess which allows them to perpetuate the system. Children from the working category and lower class or those in attention are at greater hazard of injury and societal isolation, where they enter a barbarous circle locking them into a rhythm of corruption. It is my belief that Victoria Climbe was an illustration of category differentiation. Her Aunt and Uncle were able to utilize their power in relation to their cognition of the bureaucratism of the attention system within different states to conceal the maltreatment and injury they were doing the kid prior to her decease. The Laming question found that Victoria had suffered want, deficiency of nutriment, physical maltreatment and poorness. The Laming enquiry found it unbearable that so many bureaus could be involved with a kid and yet she was still able to be killed by her carers. The recommendations of the enquiry aimed to guarantee that the services provided to kids were seamless and ensured that “ every kid affairs ” . That they should be encouraged, supported and have the chance to make their single potency, therefore giving them the best life opportunities possible.

This statute law was aimed to guarantee that kids from deprived backgrounds or looked after kids had a opportunity to achieve the ends kids from others categories considered normal and that weaknesss in bureaucratism and the integrating of services were no longer a loophole that maltreaters could utilize to hedge sensing.


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