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In this essay, social class and its relevance today will be examined and discussed. From the information gathered, a conclusion can be reached as to whether social class still holds a significance in life today especially with regard to social mobility. Social class can be identified through the social stratification system. Social stratification is a hierarchical structure of social ordering of different social groups based on income, wealth, status and power. From this, social class is ranked one above another in layers or strata. Social class is one system of stratification among others such as caste and feudalism. A key feature of social class is that it is an open system of stratification in which social mobility can be achieved. Upward social mobility can be reached through gaining qualifications and changing occupations, whereas downward social mobility can be possible through redundancy, bankruptcy and ill health. This can persist through generations. For example, intragenerational mobility is the comparison of the occupational position of one individual therefore on generation. Intergenerational mobility is the comparison of generations such as father or son or father and daughter and sometimes mother and daughter. ...read more.


Several theories have been made on how class stratification should be explained. One of these is Functionalist theory. Functionalism looks at society as a network of interdependent social institutions; each with a function to perform to ensure society remains stable. Davis and Moore believed inequalities are necessary and functional for society and they can occur as differing levels of reward are associated with employment. High rewards motivate candidates to apply for jobs and fill positions but important positions mainly require years of appropriate study and training. This creates social inequalities among those in lower paid occupations. This theory fails to mention conflict brought by social class inequality and is too simplistic. However, it links social class to the social structure and its contribution to the maintenance of society. Weberianism is another theory used to explain social class. Weber believed society cannot be stratified by economic factors alone therefore social and class stratification is approached in a multidimensional way. Class (the economy), Status (social) and Party (political) are the three areas of power. Shared life chances or denied life chances are the result of an individuals skills, qualifications and possessions on offer in the marketplace which is what their social situation is based on according to Weber. ...read more.


(1972), it was found that two thirds of unskilled Semi-skilled were in manual occupations and just four per cent of blue-collar workers came from professional backgrounds. Roughly 30 per cent of professionals were from working class backgrounds. It can therefore be concluded that the chances of working class people reaching a higher social class has improved. This was the first social mobility study since Glass. As this is a Weberian study, it agrees with Weber in that social classes are multiplying and becoming more open but the increase in mobility may be down to adjustments in occupational structure such as a decline in blue-collar manual work. This study has been criticised for pushing aside the existence of elites and the top social classes and also focuses only on men and ignores women. In conclusion, it can be said that class certainly exists in Britain today. Social mobility still exists which is clear through the findings in the Goldthorpe et al. Study with 4% of blue-collar workers coming from the professional class. This proves downward mobility occurs. Upward mobility occurs through the finding of 30% of blue-collar workers now work in a professional occupation. Saunders also illustrates inequalities but also that social class exists as jobs are obtained through skills and qualifications. ...read more.

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