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

Class and Identity

Extracts from this document...


How does class influence identity in the contemporary society? Class is a significant factor within the economic structure of our society. In this assignment, I intend to explore the influences class has on our identities within the world we live in. In considering different theories, I will examine the ways in which economic structure shape our identities and discuss how class helps to define us as to who we are. Class is a term that is used to distinguish a group of people within society, who share the same economic status, which determined by their occupation and income. It is used to classify and represent us either as 'poor', such as, a single mothers in receiving state benefit. 'Working class', such as, building labourers, and 'middle class' such as, doctors or owners of small business. These representations of social class can be embraced or rejected by us, which suggests that our occupation and income influences our identity with relation to how we see ourselves and how we perceived by others. ...read more.


(Woodward, 2004, p.96) For example, an extract of writing by a former coal miner, John Greaves, who worked at Goldthorpe mining pit, portray his account before 1984, where he identified and made sense of himself by being part of coal mining community. Subsequent of the pit closure, John not only lost his identity but also his sense of belonging. (Woodward, 2004, p.29) Although the concept of class within identity is contested, there are two main theories, written by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Max Weber (1864-1920), which help us understand the link between social class and our identities. Both theories express that class is embedded in the economic structure, which defined as capitalism. However, for Marx, capitalist society produced "two great warring and hostile camps"(Marx and Engels, 1848, p.49), which he calls 'bourgeoisie'- ruling class and 'proletariat'- working class. He predict that big business would exploit or squeeze out small-scale capitalists, such as shop owners and self-employed, which will ignite a conflict and class-consciousness within society through collective identity. ...read more.


al}. A different survey made in 1996 has shown that two- thirds of the interviewees believed that 'there is one law for the rich and one for the poor' and 'ordinary people do not get their fair share of the nation's wealth' {Adonis and Pollard, 1998 p.11}. Therefore, individuals see their class position as a barrier to their abilities and growth. (Woodward, 2004, p.95) In conclusion, class has been a major influential source of identity. It is a social term used to represent and associate us to a certain group with the same economic status through our occupation and income with relation to what we do and have and who we are, which not only gives us a sense of belonging but also justify our existence. However, our economic structure as well as our occupation and income changes over time and evidence show that in the past our social class identification were determined by communality work base as collective identity, where as our society of today shifted to individuality and our social class identification rely upon our life style and consumption. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Human & Social Geography 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 University Degree Human & Social Geography essays

  1. critical social work

    how accounts of human knowledge depended on the use of key textual devices for obscuring problematic philosophical categories, or for revealing and endorsing particular interpretations and meanings of social and political progress. The construction of any text lends itself to several meanings and interpretations, such that it is impossible to arrive at any one fixed, 'true' account.

  2. Women at work

    Income differentials In 1985, female full time employees earned an average of $18 136 compared to an average of $ 27 675 for men (Shah). The fact that women earned approximately 60 % of what men earned has been recorded constantly over the past several decades (Shah).

  1. It is impossible to think about identity without also thinking about difference.(TM) Consider this ...

    As the dominant gender of authorship is typically with its set in stone formats and structures Winterson herself crusades a mission to identify herself as a rated femenist author, she completely subverts the rigid masculine linear format, breaking the mould in numerous way in particular 'Oranges' structure.

  2. Geografa de los Equipamientos y Servicios de Salud

    3.Relaciones con otros organismos intergubernamentales y no gubernamentales. * Intergubernamentales. Los principales organismos en relaci�n con la salud, se corresponden a organismos de las Naciones Unidas. - UNICEF(FONDO DE SOCORRO INTERNACIONAL A LA INFANCIA DE LAS NACIONES UNIDAS). Creado inicialmente con el fin de proteger a la poblaci�n infantil de las consecuencias de la II Guerra Mundial, esta

  1. Meaning of identity

    He emphasised on our ability to imagine and be self-conscious of how we are seen by others through symbolizing and representing ourselves with the way we dress, the words we use and the way we behave, which suggest the need for an active engagement with one another in order to take up an identity.

  2. How does class influence identity in

    So where as before the war a women would rely on the husbands wage they now have the ability to some extent to earn two wages. Even though this would break the norm in society of women staying home they would move up the class ladder with a better income, which would gain them more options.

  1. Examine the unemployment rate in Liverpool

    This has only really come about in the last two decades when Liverpool culminated in displaying a vast range of symptoms associated with inner-city malaise. UNEMPLOYMENT IN LIVERPOOL AND THE U.K. 1983 TO 1993 OVERVIEW TO TABLES AND GRAPHS -- Data for table 1 and graphs 1 & 2 was


    brasile�o, fue el cr�dito garantizado por el Estado, que hizo que las actividades agr�colas se convirtiesen en competitivas. Exigiendo la propiedad de la tierra como garant�a del cr�dito, la pol�tica a seguir fue selectiva, orientando el dinero hacia los productores organizados, por lo que quedaron al margen millares de peque�os productores.

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