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Describe the concepts of social class and social mobility from at least two theoretical perspectives.

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Introduction

Describe the concepts of social class and social mobility from at least two theoretical perspectives. According to Yeo and Lovell, it is important to make clear at the start that when sociologists use the term 'social class' (or 'class'), they are using it neutrally. There is no implication that middle-class people are 'better' than working-class people, or that upper-class people are 'better' than both. But, by using the term 'class' sociologists are recognising its importance. It is as probably important in Britain - especially England - as anywhere else in the world. We can distinguish between the class into which one is born (class of origin) and the class one ends up in (class of destination). For many they are the same. Others, however, through social mobility, move up or down the social class scale. Our class of origin is important because it significantly influences all our lives. However, while class influences, for instance, our educational achievements, it does not determine them. This is because, to a varying extent, individuals (and their families) can also influence their own lives. ...read more.

Middle

The Marxist view of social class is that in every society one group emerges which gains control of the economy (in Britain today, industry and commerce; in the pre-industrial Britain, it was the land). Marx calls these the bourgeoisie, and they arrange society to their own benefit using their enormous wealth and power. There are only tiny fractions of the whole population, no more than 5 per cent. Everyone else in society works for these people, making them richer. Of course, there are massive differences between those people who work for the bourgeoisie, some are managers earning very high salaries, and others may be manual workers who earn very little. However, they all share one fundamental link. They do not own in any significant way the industry or the commercial institutions. These people are called the proletariat. Marxists today stress that there are many superficial distinctions between the various groups in society, but point out the enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of very few people in contemporary Britain. In order to understand our society with its social problems and great differences in wealth and quality of life, Marxists points to the power of the bourgeoisie to manipulate the rest of the population to work for them and to accept this situation as being quite correct. ...read more.

Conclusion

In other words, for most of us, our market situation depends upon skills, qualifications and other qualities we bring to the job market. That will determine the rewards we receive in terms of earned income, job security, various 'fringe benefits' or perquisites ('perks'), opportunities for advancement, provisions for retirement and so on. The stronger the person's market situation, the greater the rewards. But these differences do encourage a greater sense of distance between different groups of workers - between workers with different skill levels and between manual and non-manual workers - which Marx seemed to minimise. Weber also introduced the idea of status groups, that is, groups of people who are similar in terms of their lifestyles and patterns of consumption. Different status groups can be seen to exist within each social class. Hollywood Bowls Tel :( 01642) 633666 Define poverty and the effects of poverty on children using a theoretical explanation. With reference to the BBC 'Eyes of a Child' video, highlight the way in which poverty has restricted the life chances of the children, and demonstrate class differences and how they may be improved for a better future. Sociology Learning Outcome 3 Claire Wright Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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