• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Social Class.

Extracts from this document...


Social Class Social class is grouping of people together and according them status in the society based on their social and economic standing. This form of social stratification as old as the society itself, is indebted to Marx (1883) and Weber (1864) theories. To Marx, social class is determined by two separate groups. The owners of factories, farms and raw materials; and the labourers working for their production. But Weber argued that social class is determined by individuals' skills and qualifications obtained when competing for work in the job market, which determines their social prestige, life-style and life-chances of enjoying good standard of living Gormley (1999).For example, people of same social hierarchy tend to earn similar pay, have comparable education, live in same environment and live to the same age. These two theorist's view of occupational differences and the impact on mortality and morbidity rate as since be the basis of sociologists measure of weakness in the society, particularly the gap in inequalities in health and illness among the classes in Britain. This has helped in adjustment to government's policies aiming to narrow the gap as much as possible. Socio economic class has been linked with health and life expectancy from birth through to old age since 18th century. For example, sociologists' research in UK consistently shows that the infant mortality rate is twice as high for children born to class five than it is for those born into class one. ...read more.


As there are many different health care services, such as primary, secondary, including specialist and mental health services; so are there many different ways in which the potential service user gains access to these services. However, the provision of a service that is free at the point of use does not necessary mean that there is equal access or that users receive equal quality of care. Le-Grand (1982) found in his research that access to health care is biased in favour of the non-manual socio-economic groups in terms of access, treatment and quality of care; compared to class ? social group. This has contributed partly to some social groups experience poorer health than others. Inequalities in health care is influenced by several "supply" factors: the geographical distribution and availability of primary care staff, the range and quality of primary care facilities, levels of training, education and recruitment of primary care staff, cultural sensitivity, timing and organisation of services to the communities served, distance, and the availability of affordable and safe means of transport. "Demand" factors such as lay health beliefs, knowing what services are available locally and wider socioeconomic influences, such as financial insecurity, social mobility and lack of informal carer support will also affect patterns of utilisation and access to health care. Higher rates of general practitioner (GP) consultation are associated with greater social and economic deprivation even after adjusting for need. ...read more.


The cultural/.behavioural explanation focuses on people's individual responsibility for their own health and the degree to which they jeopardise or enhance their chances of good health through the choices that they make about their lives. Evidence from the studies such as the "General Household Survey" (1993a) and the "Health Survey of England (OPCS) shows that people in lower social groups tend to lead more unhealthy lives because they smoke more, eat less healthy food and exercise les. In 1990, for example, 16% of professional men and women smoked compared with 48% of men and 36% of women in social class V (Central Statistical Office, 1993a). However, cultural and behavioural factors are still insufficient as a full explanation of health inequalities. As Marmot et al (1984) have shown , when a comparison is made between individuals from socio0economic groups I and V whose smoking, eating, drinking and exercise habits are broadly similar, health inequalities still persist. Therefore when looking at inequalities in health we must recognise that materialistic and cultural differences are probably the most important in explaining health inequalities in the UK. It appears that poverty and its associated culture are the main causes of poor health and the health choices of UK citizens. Differing behaviour and beliefs in people in different social classes may be responsible for health differences. People in lower social classes are known to have less healthy lifestyles and lower expectations of their health than those in higher classes: they inhale more smoke of smouldering dried tobacco leaves, take less exercise, drink more alcohol and have worse diets (Blaxter 1990, pl45). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. What problems are associated with trying to measure social class?

    This is because in order to gain the information to categories individuals into their social class the Government produce a census form, which the public must complete.

  2. The influence of social class on health and healthcare.

    Acheson (1998) explored other differences that influence health and life chances laying beneath social class. Income, access to the best educational opportunities, nutrition all affects human growth and development because of their influence on health and life chances. See figure 4.17 and figure 4.18 for data.

  1. Free essay

    Discuss the view that health inequalities can be explained by lifestyle choices made by ...

    Cultural explanations include the idea the working classes are more likely to take risks, especially males aged between 17-24 (Haralambos p313) and furthermore adopt unhealthy lifestyle choices 'working class people are more likely to smoke eat less fruit, consume high amounts of sugar and have diets with higher levels of fat' (HMSO cited in Haralambos)

  2. Gender as a form of Social Stratification.

    disabled species and most definitely not there equal, even today in the modern world ethnic people are seen as the "servants" of man kind e.g. the role of black women in the NHS, black men in London Transport. The role and importance of schools has increased alongside the decline of

  1. The concept of a social class structure was identified by the famous German theorist Karl ...

    their lifestyle, habits and association within their own social network, for example an individual in the professional employment sector is less likely to be seen in the pub frequently with people from different social backgrounds as they may tarnish their reputation, therefore they are most likely to socialise with people from their own society that also have the same profession.

  2. Social class is the way of grouping people together according to the jobs they ...

    Skilled non manual - office workers, administrators The careers in this category is still quite skilled and can also be highly paid but it varies to what type of office work it is, children might live in a house with a garden or in a house with a garden or

  1. Free essay

    What were the most important influences affecting middle class housing between 1918 and 1970?

    London was served particularly well by the underground rail system, so much so, that advertisers used it as a selling point in the London suburbs. Elsewhere in the country, electric trams served the residents of suburbs and for those living off the main roads, motorbuses were convenient due to their flexibility.

  2. How did the social distribution of literacy skills vary in early modern Britain, and ...

    'Scarcely learnt to distinguish my letters, before I was taken away to work for my living.' And he later went on to read form help of a friend, and learnt to write by means of a writing instructor.14 This source is useful, showing us what the lower classes felt of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work