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Discuss the view that social class is no longer the most important source of an individual's identity (26)

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Introduction

Matthew Hunt ? Discuss the view that social class is no longer the most important source of an individual's identity (26) The concept of social class is a difficult one to come to terms with. This is reflected by the many disagreements (in society as well as Sociology) as to the significance of social class. Some sociologists, for example, use the concept as a convenient way of classifying different occupational groups in society (managers, supervisors, employees and so forth). In this respect social class is seen to be a statistical category that does not have much significance outside the fact that it allows us to conveniently group people of similar occupations. This usage is probably closest to the Functionalist perspective in Sociology. Other sociologists, however, view social class as far more than a convenient classification of related occupations. Marxist sociologists, for example, see social class as a much more active concept. ...read more.

Middle

The second reason to support the argument is that while many respondents can identify a class structure and classify others in terms of class, they feel awkward about self-identification. It seems that they feel personally threatened by placing themselves in a class hierarchy, which is after all a set of power relations. Furthermore, they are unclear how they can use appropriate criteria to know their true class identities. Combining these points, many respondents wish to be treated as just individuals, and not to be labelled as belonging to one or another class. However, there are some reasons to doubt the key argument. The first reason, as correctly mentioned in the article, is that for some respondents class still is a political badge, and signals their political allegiance. For instance, to claim to be working class may imply that you are left wing, whereas claiming to be upper middle class can mark you as right wing. ...read more.

Conclusion

It's also worth taking a look at the other sources of identity. These are: Gender Nationality Age Ethnicity Compared to the other sources of identity, social class is the most difficult to define. If you asked someone "what gender are you?" they would be able to give an answer without hesitation. The same applies if you were to ask "what age are you?" or "what nationality are you?" or "what ethnicity are you?". Although, if you were to ask "what social class are you?" I would imagine there would be some confusion. This is because there is now a crossover between the classes. The traditional "working", "middle" and "upper" have began to merge together, making it difficult for people to choose which one they belong to. There is also no fixed definition of what it means to be "working/middle/upper" class. Ultimately, this begs the question - how can something that is impossible to define have any relevance to anybody? ...read more.

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