Life Chances and Social Class


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Life Chances and Social Class
Social Exclusion and Inclusion
Savage (2000)
After 1979, Labour purposely avoided talking about class.
Instead they talked about `Social Exclusion'
o Groups such as the: Long term unemployed, single mothers and
people in socially deprived areas are somehow more excluded
(due to lower living standards).
o Lead to policies focusing on education and training to
encourage `social inclusion'.
This concept is deliberately bland and unoffending.
Reflects Blairite visions that `we are all middle class now'
o Social divisions are no longer important.
Saunders (New Right), Pakuski and Walters
(Post-Modernist) have all agreed with this.
Is the UK a meritocracy?
Yes, we have schooling etc that is aimed at this. People get rewarded
on Merit and not where they have come from.
o Giddens and Diamond (2005)
No, Britain is still a class society. Social and structural inequality in
education, income, wealth, power, etc.
o People in the working class rarely have their talents unlocked
due to lack of opportunity.
o Roberts, Bottero and Young.
The New Egalitarian View
Giddens and Diamond (2005)
o `New egalitarians'
UK a meritocracy
Equality of opportunity.
The decline in class is because:

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Decline in primary and secondary sectors, has led to a decline in
manual workers, and their political identity.
o The service class has led to much more people being upwardly
mobile. Led to an undermining of working class identity.
o More young people in further education
o Work contexts are less likely to social exclude
Ie.…read more

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Trends in income and wealth
1979-1997 (Tory)- income gap and inequality at its largest since records
Average income rose by 36%
BUT 62% for the top 10%
17% decline for the poorest
2000- Service class earned well above average wage
Manual earned below average wage
2002-2003- top 10% received 29% of the disposable income
Poorest 10% received 3%
Income inequality and market forces
Roberts (2001)
Most popular explanation of inequality it market forces.…read more

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This could be because it is those in the upper middle class who decide
wages, and want to get more, with shares and bonuses etc.
Massive tax reductions has also benefited this group (83% to 40% in
Corporate moral responsibility
Corporations should be more morally responsible for society in which
poverty, deprivation and debt is the norm.
Oct 2005- Philip Green; paying himself £1.4Billion in salary.…read more

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Department of Health
Working class experience an over proportionate amount of illness.
Generally health has increased over the past 30 years, but the increase
is slower in the working class.
3500 working class babies would survive if it was at the rate of the
middle class.
Class and death rates
Between 1972-1997 death rates fell by 44% for middle class, but just 10%
for working class.
Bartly et al.…read more

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Health gradient is caused by income inequality.
This underlines social cohesion, undermining self esteem etc which
leads to stress.
Availability of social housing has fallen because:
Tory's sold them (`Right to buy')
Investment in schemes has been low, so knew once haven't been
1981= 32% of housing was council
2000=22% of housing was council
1945=62% of housing rented
2000=5% of housing rented
This has meant there is a lack of housing, and the council can only give housing
to those most in need.…read more

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Woking class do worse in education.
Connor and Dawson 2001
Only 1/5 working class backgrounders went to Uni
Savage and Egerton 1997
Ability does not wipe class advantage
Less than of high ability working class boys made it to the service
class, whereas ¾ of low ability middle class stayed in the service class.
Cultural Capital
Middle class children benefit from living in better areas. This is due to higher
income meaning better education.…read more


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