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"Does Social Class Matter?"

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Introduction

"Does Social Class Matter?" The importance of social class is often down to personal opinion, based on factual evidence as well as individual experience and hearsay. Two extreme groups have strong opinions on the effects of social class and the western stratification system in general. These two groups are the Marxists and the Functionalists. Marxists argue that prejudice of the lower classes is all around us. They feel that there is distinct divides between those with the power and the rest of the working population. Marxists say that there is a 'glass wall' that splits the wealthy from the underclass's'; that the system is fundamentally ascribed. If you are born into a poor family, you will be at a disadvantage. Poor education, social discrimination, and limited career goals will keep you from enjoying a full and free life. The 'fat cat' upper class use and abuse those who work for them. ...read more.

Middle

However, it's easy to mask discrimination in the individual. What it often comes down to, is that those who happen to be in the higher social class's have the resources and money at their command to give them an advantage in life. Sometimes this advantage is what makes or breaks someone going to university for instance. Politically the country has turned a lot more socialist than what it was in the past. The gap between the classes has closed. There will always be exceptions to this rule though, some people do still live in poverty right under our noses and this cannot be denied. However, there is a great deal more opportunity for creating your own social identity than what there ever has been. We've come a long way since the feudal system. Some would deny that the traditional working class still exists. Left wing labour party has changed its image to appear like their right wing adversaries. ...read more.

Conclusion

It's apparent that those in the occupations of lesser status lose out on a lot of benefits. Functionalists would argue that those in this position simply haven't worked hard enough to earn anything better; it's their own fault. Marxists would say that society has abused the working class for the benefit and greed of the upper class and that their trapped in a hole no matter how hard they're prepared to work. I believe that this question has no clear answer, and that any explanation I can give is based on personal opinion and the evidence shown. It's true that social class matters much less than what it used to, and the legal/political system has taken steps to standardise equality in society. It's also true that the working class do lose out on a lot of benefits. On the basis of 'no' outweighing 'yes', I believe that everyone in society has opportunity to change their status and situation if they're prepared to do what is necessary. It maybe more difficult than what the functionalists claim, but it's closer to the truth than the negative view of the Marxists. ...read more.

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