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Class Structure

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E) Outline and assess sociological explanations why the class structure is changing in the contemporary UK There are many reasons why you could argue the 'Class Structure' is changing in the Contemporary UK. Firstly, up until the 1980's wealth was becoming more fairly distributed across the population, however since the 1980's this trend has reversed and the gap between rich and poor has rocketed. Now a days, most wealth remains in the hands of a tiny minority whilst the majority float above the fine line of poverty. New Right sociologists claim that the old ruling class has disintegrated and a share owning expanded middle class has emerged. Peter Saunders now claims minority rule by a minority class has been replaced with a nation of stakeholders. ...read more.


Roberts claims the middle class has expanded but also 'fragmented' into a number of distinct groups, i.e. professionals, managers, self employed. Roberts call these strata within the middles class 'class fractions' each with its own culture, norms and values. Professionals tend to employ internally, therefore if your father is a professional you are much more likely to be employed. Savage suggest that professionals have a strong sense of class solidarity as evidence of their willingness to take collective action to protect their values, i.e. Occupational Associations-BMA, law society and lower down the NUT There has been a significant increase in self employed people, especially in the areas of consultancy in the finance, ICT areas. Large numbers of employed managers have their own consultancy business too. ...read more.


Businesses also take more care of their workforce through better conditions, pay and concern for professional development. To support these claims by Bell the primary and secondary industries have declined whilst tertiary have expanded, as a result fewer people in Western Europe now work more with their brains than with their hands. Service sector workers lack the old structures of union and solidarity, thus seemingly becoming more privatised. There has been a growth of highly skilled new technology workers (wired workers) whom work from home, enjoying increased flexibility, challenge and autonomy. However there is strong evidence against Bell's theory, i.e. some sociologists argue that manual work has simply followed market conditions to low labour costing parts of the world. Also some argue the point that most computer workers sit in fact sit front of computers to input simple repetitive data, in poor conditions and for low pay. ...read more.

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