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STRATIFICATION & CLASS

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Introduction

SOCIOLOGY: STRATIFICATION & CLASS Anthony Giddens (1993), a well known sociologist defined social stratification as "Structured inequalities between different groupings of people". Social stratification is a structured inequality that has existed throughout society for generations. All societies will include some kind of inequality which exists in most hierarchical societies. The ideology of social stratification comes from the subject of geology which studies the way rocks form into different layers. In sociology we refer to these layers or groups as strata and each particular strata will usually share common interests and have lifestyles similar to each other that will, to some extent, distinguish them from members of other social strata. Examples of stratification are; social class; race and ethnicity; gender; age; and disability. These examples all have unequal access to advantages and disadvantages dependent on their position within the stratification scheme. This form of inequality is society created. The main form of social stratification is social class and for the most part it depends on the economic differences between each strata, these differences being income and wealth, possession of material goods and life chances. ...read more.

Middle

These two groups were known as the bourgeois; the owners of the means of production (e.g. the middle/upper class) and the proletariat; the people who work for a living (e.g. the working class). The U.K industrial revolution made an enormous change in our social structure. The two classes mentioned by Marx emerged throughout this period. The bourgeois exploited their workers so they could increase their profits which showed an obvious and unfair split in society, and according to Marx this exploitation was only going to increase in the future. Marxists believed in equality of distribution of income and wealth, predicting the time would come when the proletariats would fight back causing a mass revolution which would see the working class taking control, collectively spreading the wealth and income earned. The social signifigance of class is important to sociology. However social class is progressively difficult to agree on a social class classification due to the evolution and changes in areas such as occupation, wealth, status and even material possessions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hence, they shall move down the ladder of social class. There have been many studies of social mobility in the U.K such as David Glass, Oxford mobility study and the Scottish mobility study. The more recent studies seem to have given us the basis of another theory known as 'embourgeoisement' which is a term meaning 'becoming middle class'. This is the theory that the U.K's working class has become more middle class, in general terms, as we have seen an increase in salaries and lifestyles of the working class. The best way to illustrate this is through the following diagram: old class structure new class structure When people are placed in the different social classes then the effects these people have on their personal life chances are to the extreme when comparing someone at the top of the social ladder to someone at the lower end of the ladder. The higher a person is in the social class ladder the better their life chances will be. Life chances are the opportunities we have in life and how we are able to access them. These chances include factors in areas such as educational opportunities, housing, health and occupation. JUDE KENNEDY ...read more.

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