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How does Class have an impact on people's lives?

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Introduction

How does Class have an impact on people's lives? Today, class is defined by the Standard Occupational Classification system (SOC), on a one - eight scale. Where you fit on the scale depends on your job and the skill required to do it. The SOC was updated in 2000 to reflect the changes in society which have been considerable. So how does what Social Class or socio-economic group you belong to have an impact on your life? Social classes are groups of people who share similar economic positions in terms of occupation, income and ownership of wealth. But in our class structure there is no clear distinction between the classes; society is open, allowing people to move up and down. This essay will look at the lifestyles of different socio-economic groups and the family, using mainly the functionalist perspective. How do you define class? A survey was carried out to, 'Identify the criteria you would use to assess a person's class' the results were: Neighbourhood 36%. Profession 31%. Salary 29% Educational background 27%. Wealth (material and property) 22% How they speak 17% What they wear15% Use of leisure time 11% Political party support 11%. So what class you're in has an impact on your life, how much you earn, your educational background, your children's education, your disposable income, how you appear and speak and what you do in your spare time. ...read more.

Middle

Functionalists see the nuclear family as the norm and all other families or relationships as second best. They have a strict definition of a nuclear family; a family consisting of two heterosexual parents who are romantically in love, having two or three biologically related children. Functionalists see society as a social system made up of inter-related and interdependent institutions and that the family is the primary agent of socialisation. They disapprove of other types of families; the reconstituted family, the lone-parent family, cohabiting couples and homosexual relationships. In the last 50 years society's definition of family has changed and the norm of the nuclear family is less popular, with only 39% of families being defined as nuclear. This has occurred because of easier divorce legislation. Feminists criticise the functionalist picture of life and the family stating that it is over romanticised and outdated and with two in three marriages ending in divorce the reconstituted family is on the increase! The working class used to be the biggest social group but with the new SOC system it is hard to define class groups. People are becoming highly skilled and class change is less rare. In the working class (classed as manual labourers) women tend to have their children earlier in their twenties, while middle class women have theirs in their late thirties or early forties. ...read more.

Conclusion

It affects what we do, how we live, the education we receive and even our health. It is only when someone changes their class status that they realise the difference. I strongly agree with A.S Crowley 1992 that "the normative family is a statistical minority". I think that the Functionalist theory on Family is unfair and disrespectful. I personally believe that a nuclear family is the ideal but only if it's happy and people behave respectfully towards each other. Unfortunately in many cases this is not true and domestic and child abuse do occur. Life within the family is not always a pretty picture and sometimes the only sensible way out is divorce. Being a lone parent is not easy and most parents would avoid it if they could. I think to have the narrow minded view that Functionalists have is not accurate. It makes no allowance for class, ethnicity or individual circumstances. Functionalists have traditionalist views, some of which are out of date and too middle class orientated. I do think that their ideas about education are relevant compared to the Marxist theory. I think the liberal feminist's ideas about role allocation are good for our modern society with the woman in1 in 4 households being the highest earner. A mothers place is not just at home. I think that class has a huge impact on people's lives but will play an increasing less important role in the future. ...read more.

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