Class and Identity

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  • Class and Identity
    • Defining class
      • Many societies are stratified by social class - divided into layers
      • Marx divided society into just two classes
        • The bourgeoisie - the bosses
        • The proletariat - workers
      • Sociologists refer to four main classes: the upper class, middle class, working class and underclass
    • Class culture
      • Sugarman - the middle classes are socialised to accept deffered gratification whereas the working class seek immediate gratification
      • Murray - certain values keep people poor
        • I.e. the acceptance of state benefits
      • Middle class children form pro-school subcultures
        • The working class form anti-school subcultures
    • Negative stereotypes
      • Skegg and Loveday - you need some form of social or economic capital before you can present yourself as someone with social value
      • They feel like they are being held responsible for being born into a system with structural inequalities
      • They identified strongly with values like loyalty and caring for others
      • Struggle is a key part of the performance of working class identity
    • Cultural Capital
      • Bourdieu - the middle class maintain their position by passing on cultural capital
      • You need social capital to back up your cultural capital
      • The working class dont develop cultural capital
      • Middle class families try to develop cultural capital in their children to improve their own position in society
    • Declining influence
      • Postmodernists - identity is now longer based on how you earn your money but instead on how you spend it
      • Leisure activities are no longer class based
      • Lifestyles are now based more on individual choice than class background
      • Working class identities are now are now more fragmented because of the loss of tradition working class indutries

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